COLDWATER – Volunteer Jayne Lillis has been named March Volunteer of the Month for Tibbits Opera House because of her dedication to the Tibbits Young Audiences program.
Lillis has worked with countless children, bringing youth theatre to the Tibbits’ stage over a span of 30-plus years. She first became involved with Tibbits Young Audiences (TYA) in the spring of 1987, when Mary Good asked her to join and also be prop mistress for the TYA musical. Two years later, Lillis moved into the producer position where she stayed for 23. After taking a break for a few years, she retired from teaching and returned in 2016 as director of the TYA fall show. In 2019 she also became the music director for the TYA musicals.
Originally from Indiana, she and her husband Chuck lived in Oshkosh, WI right after they married, then moved to Bloomington, IN, and finally moved to Coldwater in June 1986. Lillis was the Director of Educational Ministries at the Coldwater United Methodists Church for 14 years, then taught Spanish at Lakeview Middle School in Battle Creek for 16 years. Lillis’ hobbies include piano, reading and baking. She used her baking skills to create Jayne’s Pie Pantry, which had a very successful booth at Coldwater’s Farmers Market last summer.
She and Chuck, married for 42 years, have two daughters, both professional actors. Bethany, their older daughter, lives in Denver with her husband Doug and daughter Alexandra. Jessie, their younger daughter just completed her MFA in Shakespeare and Performance and is both an actor and director.
“I love the relationships I have built over the years working with TYA. I love live theater and to be able to work in it on a regular basis truly feeds my soul. I feel what we offer to the children and youth of this area is very important and can be life-changing. My own children started in TYA and it was a defining time for both of them,” Jayne said.
She continued, “We are so fortunate to have Tibbits in Coldwater. What it offers to this community is incalculable. It is a privilege and an honor to be a part of this incredible organization. I am forever grateful for the opportunity that has been given to me.”
The Volunteer of the Month is chosen by Tibbits staff. Selection is based on the hours and/or service, as well as leadership, special skills or expertise shared. Criteria may be project specific or general support and volunteerism. In recognition of this award, Lillis received a $25 Coldwater Area Chamber of Commerce Debit Card.
Tibbits is always looking for more volunteers in a variety of areas: ushering, working the gift shop or concessions area, doing general office help, sorting archival materials, planting flowers, decorating the theater, and much more. Those interested in volunteering should contact Tirsha Odisher at Tibbits at 517-278-6029 or boxoffice@Tibbits.org. Tibbits Opera House is located at 14 S. Hanchett Street, Coldwater, MI. www.Tibbits.org.