Bud’s Bench, a tribute to volunteers past and present, will soon be revealed at the Studio Stage Door in Cranbrook.
Bud’s Bench has been an ongoing project that Cranbrook Community Theatre has spearheaded as a way of honouring all volunteers in the community, especially Bud Abbott – who was a fixture for volunteerism in the community up until he passed at age 97 in 2019.
The bench will be revealed and dedicated at a ceremony on Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. in front of the Studio Stage Door building.
“Mr. Bud Abbott set the example of what one person can do to make a community better by volunteering. With the blessing of the Abbott family, a modern art public bench, with room for at least two adults to sit beside ‘Bud’, was designed and created by local artist Paul Reimer,” CCT said in a press release. “The bench is six feet in length with a galvanized gray finish and a contrasting black cast iron life-sized outline representation of Bud playing his trombone.”
Abbott served the community through volunteerism for nearly 60 years. He was a Rotarian, performer, volunteer for many organizations, and was active in the creation of CCT.
Abbott was also chosen as Cranbrook’s Citizen of the Year in 1992. He has been the recipient of several Rotary Club awards, local and provincial theatre awards, Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal, and most honours that the City of Cranbrook could give.
CCT says that the bench will not only be a place to sit, but will invite folks to, “take photos, arouse cultural curiosity and encourage people to volunteer.”
There will also be a performance by Douglas Francis Mitchell, along with Randy Marchi, Dave Prinn and Jamie Neve. Mitchell wrote a song about Abbott in 2020 to honour the late volunteer, and the group will perform ‘Bud’s Song’ during the ceremony.
“Bud Abbott’s daughters, Becky and Louise, will be present, along with representatives from many of the project’s initiating organizations and local volunteer organizations that were touched by Bud Abbott’s generous volunteer service,” said CCT. “A celebration at Rotary Park will follow the ceremony at 11 a.m. with music, cake and beverages, as well as a few acknowledgements about exceptional achievements realized by our local volunteers.”
There will be performances at the park by local artists including The Confluentials, Bud’s Friends (a musical singing group) and Mitchell.
CCT thanked all of the organizing partners: Regional District of East Kootenay, City of Cranbrook, Rotary Club of Cranbrook, Key City Theatre, Cranbrook Community Theatre Society, Cranbrook & District Arts Council, and the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce. Additional funding came from Community Foundations of the Kootenay Rockies, East Kootenay Community Credit Union and the Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary Club.