By Patti Light
For Hometown News
The Pine Trail Players 2013 Retirement Roast had its largest show ever on Friday, May 31. More than 100 people came to The Venue in Ormond Beach to honor the six retirees of the school, including Lynn Skierski Boesen, Jan Brokaw, Barbara Gionfriddo, Diane LeJeune, Carol Leonard and Melissa Paro, with dinner and a show.
Now an annual presentation, the event began years ago when Courtney Ronco started writing skits and songs "roasting" those retiring, and the event has grown to include six acts of song, dance, skits and music. The costumes are outrageous; the skits poke fun at the teachers and their experiences.
"Costumes go from soup to nuts. You'll see harlequin and feathers, hats and wigs. And we're gonna have mimes this year during the cocktail hour, which we've never done before," said Ms. Ronco, adding that the only people who are semi-professional is The Firecrackers, a female quartet that performs locally. "Judy Levine is the music professor and it's all live music."
A total of 20 performers started rehearsal and preparations in March, resulting in the hour-long show, followed by dinner from D.B.Pickles. (Pete and Carol Polzella own both the restaurant and The Venue.) Ms. Ronco said her background in dance and choreography, along with her work with The Firecrackers is the basis of the creations. Dozens of volunteers helped with the preparations, costumes, props and rehearsals.
In typical roast fashion, they picked on particular idiosyncrasies and endearing traits. But the real purpose of the Retirement Roast is to honor the dedication of the teachers and employees, not to mention their years of service at the school.
"When you leave teaching, it's a big hole in your life. It's been your whole life -- morning, noon and night," explained Ms. Ronco, herself a retired teacher. "When you teach, you don't work for money, you just do it. So leaving it is hard. We try to give people some joy when they are leaving."