Belmond’s Lyric Theater is gearing up for the third year of its support program called Friends of the Lyric Theater.

  Last year over 150 private citizens and businesses became Friends of the Theater. In the past 12 months, that support has helped start a recycling program, add surge arrestors to the electrical system, buy a vacuum cleaner, and make a repair to the projector.

  By paying for unexpected repairs, the Friends program helps keep ticket and concession prices the lowest anywhere. This allows greater access to the theater by children and families.

  Anyone is eligible to become a Friend. There are five giving categories: Co-Star, Star, Director, Producer and Oscar Winner. Each donation level comes with rewards.

  Co-Star: $50 donation, earns $25 in theater coupons;

  Star: $100 donation, earns $50 in theater coupons;

  Director: $250 donation, earns $125 in coupons;

  Producer: $500 donation, earns $250 in coupons;

  Oscar Winner: $1,000 donation, earns $500 in coupons.

  A membership in Friends of the Lyric Theater lasts for one year. The coupons include free admissions and snacks. Members can use the coupons for themselves, customers, friends, or for prizes and gifts. Coupons are good for one year.

  Anyone interested in becoming a Friend of the Lyric Theater should contact a board member or call Dirk van der Linden at 641-444-3333. All Friends members will have their name appear on a special poster in the theater lobby. 

  The Lyric has been operated for 27 years as a non-profit business in service to the community. Sometimes things have gone well; other times they have not.

  In the past 16 years, the theater had a positive cash flow 11 times. But things have gotten more difficult, and the operation lost money in five of the past six years.

  “Finances are a combination of many things,” said board president Linda Dippel. “Sometimes it’s hard finding good movies. Sometimes the weather is bad. In recent years the film companies have demanded higher and higher fees. Nowadays there is a lot more competition in nearby towns. Once, Belmond was a pioneer and had one of the only community-owned theaters around. Now Clarion, Hampton, Garner, Forest City, Lake Mills Northwood and Humboldt all have community-owned theaters. Some of those movie-goers used to come to Belmond.

  “When we have good years, we put money in the bank,” Dippel continued. “This helps us get through the bad times. But with things being rather difficult the past couple of years, it’s more and more important to make ends meet. The theater board doesn’t want to raise prices

unless it’s absolutely necessary. We have the lowest prices around, and we try hard to keep things that way. The theater doesn’t have to make a profit, but it does have to pay the bills.

  “The theater is very lucky to have had great donors over the years to help with large improvements. Entities like the Luick Trust, Eaton, the Wright County Charitable Foundation, and the Foster and Evelyn Barkema Trust have provided the money for new chairs, a new projector, new roofs, furnaces and air conditioners, new carpeting, restroom upgrades, and last year, marquee improvements. Without this assistance, prices would be much higher, or the theater might not even be open.

  “We know that lots of kids like to go to the movies. And so do plenty of adults. We also know that there are plenty of adults who may not go to the movies very often, but they realize the importance of the theater to the kids and to the town. That’s why we have the Friends of the Lyric Theater sponsorship program. It’s a way for people to help the theater on an ongoing basis and keep movies in Belmond for many years to come.”

  The Lyric Theater is also a qualified organization under Thrivent Choice, Dippel said. Anyone who has Thrivent Choice dollars available may direct them to the theater. In addition, a Thrivent Action Team grant is helping to pay the printing and postage costs for the Friends of the Lyric Theater program.

  Here is a breakdown of the 2018-2019 Friends of the Lyric Theater:

Oscar Winners

  Foster and Evelyn Barkema Trust, Wright County Charitable Foundation, Lewis and Nancy Schaal, Dave and Diane Lieberknecht, Jeannie Arends


  Knights of Columbus, Community Room Breakfast, Tim and Jodi Carlson, Belmond Independent, Mike and Dianne McLaughlin, Nancy and Mick Gabrielson, USA Chemicals, First State Bank, Dale and Trese Arends


  John and Lee Ann Waltzing, Steve and Barb Soma, Kenny and Jacki Bock, Angela Cooper,

Town and Country Realty - Clarion, Green Belt Bank and Trust, Jerry and Jan Stadtlander, Cattlemans at the Club, First Gabrielson Agency, Jim and Betty Houser, Eugene Drury, Damond and Alsesha Roberts, Doug and Fonda Thompsen, Tim Landgraf and Jan Libbey, Nathan Dippel, Terry and Gail Miller, Ron and Denise Scheimer, Ysker Body Shop, Iowa Specialty Hospital - Belmond, Lawrence and Wanda Basener, Greg and Nicole Herrold, Thrivent Financial, Rock Gallagher, Cynthia Uehling, Rob and Lyn Courson, John Hotvet, Rod and Laurie Been, D.K. Arndt, CPA, Steve McLaughlin, Duane and Deb Perry, James Uehling


  Printing Services, Larry and Denise Fleener, Matt and Brandy Crawford, Jim and Dianna Suntken, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Timmerman, Bob and Cathy Cullinan, Glenn and Vicki Box, Dave and Joy Bonin, Rex Peterson, Kim Davenport, Jim and Barb Boelman, Dallas Johnson, Greg Wilhelm, Paul and Nyla Schaefer, Jeff and Shelly Buseman, Tom and Chryl Hill, Janyce Kluss, Mildred Wenzel, Don Dye, Jan and Al Rodriquez, Vern and Sally Gordon, Frank Quigley, Baldwin OK Tire, Pat and Mary Grant, Jim and Myra Gochenouer, Joan Clark, Harlan and Denise Dorenkamp, Al and Connie Mattison, Marcia and Randy Burt, Ewing Funeral Home, Terry and Sandy Anderson, Ron and Marge Jurgens, Bernie and Liz Barrett, Belmond Junction, Don and Robin Koob, Lora and Russ Talbot, Dr. David Gildner, Roger and Janice Fekkers, Gene Pals, John and Paulette Andrews, Lynn and Linda Loux, Harold and Donna Buseman, Don Bancroft, Kendal and Sue Klinge, Karla Pals, Property Link Real Estate, Eaton Corporation, Steve and Val Dougherty, Terri and Jim Avery, Marc and Camilla Gabrielson, Phil and Laurie Johnson, Jeff and Jodi Pentico, Sophie Roberts Trask, Dome Winery, Mark and Debbie Bruns, Larry and Gail Langlitz, Linda Dippel, Evie and Kenny White, Packard Electric, Earl and Julie Kalkwarf, Phil and Peggy Knudtson, Darrel Steven Carlyle, True Value, Simonson Family, Mark and Jerri Grundmeier, Cindy Mayo, Terri Havens, Lance Arnold, Steve and Linda Walrod, Doris Been, Dennis Sloth, Anonymous


  Ruth Johnson, Todd and Betty Nash, Marlene Merriam, JoAnn Dorr, Jan Cooper, Roger and Sharon Modderman, Doug and Shirley Stoffer, Joan Janssen, Steve and Marilyn Janssen, Kevin and Joleen Smith, Wayne and Marilyn Pals, Jessica Williamson, Hogan-Hansen CPA, Joan Mize, Randy Fischer, Roger and Bev DuVall, Al and Shirley Ropp, Kenn and Ashly Jenkins, Larry and Carol Bailey, Loren Mennenga, Bobbi Ring, MaxYield Co-op, Margo Brockmeyer, Crystal Braner, Toni and Gregg Fliss, Larry and MaryAnn Lohse, Art and Regina Lamoureux, Steve and Jessica Chapman, Doris Dorr, K.A. Nelson, Tom Burk, Lyle Sorenson, In Memory of Paula Johnson, Hubert and Donna Kopriva, Sharleen Sorum, John and Pat VanLenning, Bob and Patricia Drury, Dennis McNulty, Anonymous