In 2015 , friends of Big Top launched a new initiative to help guide and support the organization as it heads into its next exciting chapters . The KEEPERS are a group of fun-loving people who care deeply about the presence of music , arts and culture in the Northwoods . Led by Big Top supporter Don Funk and his wife Abby , along with Big Top Founder Mary Rice , Big Top Board President Kim Ogle , and Big Top Board Member Kimberly West Rymer , the group sought to gather together a group of like-minded folks to provide a financial base for the long-term vision and stability of Big Top Chautauqua . They put out a call in the spring that took a line from the show Keeper of the Light wherein a lighthouse attendant calls out into the darkness , “ Is anybody out there ?” They asked lovers of Big Top to heed the call to stewardship of our beloved Big Top Chautauqua , the preeminent purveyor of music and the arts for all of the people who live in or travel to the Northwoods .
We were gratified that indeed there were generous friends who answered that call . Thirty-seven people collectively gave $ 128,000 for the new fund which will be used for future facility and grounds needs . These KEEPERS also gathered at several events during the summer to enjoy the music at the tent , the beauty of Lake Superior and the company of other Big Top supporters . KEEPER Don Funk says he is proud to see The KEEPERS stepping up to take a lead role in preserving “ this iconic destination for the next generations .”
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who answered the call and participated in this new effort in its inaugural year – or should we say , on its maiden voyage to keep with the maritime theme ?
Thank you for helping to tend the light that is Big Top Chautauqua !