Volunteer of the Year

John Maccanelli Volunteer of the Year Award

John Maccanelli served as the Racine Theatre Guild photographer for lobby shots and production photos for nearly every show from 1981 until 1993. A professional photographer, John donated more than his camera talents. Over the years he spent hundreds of hours helping to build sets and chairing or working on props crews. He chaired the playreading committee for the 1992-1993 season. He travelled with the RTG on two overseas trips, in 1987 and 1989. John explained his work ethic while volunteering as “inventive and organized.” He said, “Even if I’m just moving sets or tearing them down, I see what needs to be done and do it.” His love of theatre and the friendships he formed with other volunteers and theatre staff shown through everything he did.

John saw the camera as his form of theatre. “Looking through a camera is like looking at a performance on a stage. The proscenium is like the lense.” His work was seen in lobby photos, local newspapers, the RTG archives, and on the pages of the newsletter in headshots, cast photos, and much more. What started off as a launching point for his personal photography studio later became an essential part of the history of the Guild.

Whether it was behind a camera or with a hammer in his hand, John continued to express his passion and dedication to the performing arts. He passed away after a long battle with cancer in 1993. His “can do” spirit and commitment inspired the Volunteer of the Year Award, which has been given out annually since then to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional dedication and versatility throughout the past season.


John Maccanelli Volunteer of the Year Award Winners



Vivian Stetler -1993George Mangold -1994
Marsha Nelson – 1995Nancy Moldenhauer – 1996
Betsy Kippers – 1997Marge Henze – 1998 
Brian Schalk – 1999Donna Nielsen – 2000
Rose Bliss – 2001Kate Potter-Barrow – 2002
Phil Paulsen – 2003Ron Halvorsen – 2004
Michael Kurhajec – 2005Michael Pirtle – 2006
Kathy Berg – 2007Russ Stetler – 2008
Bob Benson – 2009 Kelli Kauzlarich – 2010 
Sharon Molina – 2010Cindy David – 2011
Lori Russ – 2012Karen Hamilton – 2013
Jamie Johnson – 2014Anna Marie Hoeft          Smetana – 2015
Frank Russ – 2016Mike Kishline – 2017
Jill Dickert – 2018Cynthy McCrory – 2019
Sheila Simonsen – 2020

Updated 10/28/2019

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