Like a knight in shining armor, Louie Rychlik saved the Music and Movies in the Park summer series in one swift motion.
Due to decreased financial support, the annual music-and-movies series was going to be shorter than usual, consisting of eight weeks of music and one movie rather than the usual 12 weeks of concerts and three outdoor movies.
The condensed schedule was abandoned after Rychlik, 67, walked into Sequim City Hall last week and handed City Clerk Karen Kuznek-Reese and Deputy City Clerk Bobbie Usselman, event organizers, a blank check and said, "How much do you need? Write it out."
"It was awesome, Kuznek-Reese said. "Both Karen and I were in tears."
Born and raised in the
Sequim and Port Angeles area, Rychlik said he made the donation "for the kids."
"The community has been good to me and I hate to see a program like this lose out," he said.
"Everybody is stepping through hard times, but we’ve still got enough money – thanks to the community – that I can make this contribution."
Rychlik is semi-retired and lives between Sequim and Port Angeles with his 17-year-old grandson, Brendin "Fudd" Beckett.
Rychlik’s wife died last year; his daughter, the year before – a large factor in his decision to make the contribution.
"Nobody approached me about a donation but when I read … ’bout them cutting the program, I couldn’t stand it. It’s too important for the families," Rychlik said.
"Besides, it’s just money. You can’t take it with you when you go."
Music and Movies in the Park is held at the Jamestown Center for Performing Arts at the Sequim Water Reclamation site on Blake Avenue. Sponsorships and donations pay for performance fees, stage rental and movie costs.
Concerts are at 6 p.m. Tuesdays from June 23-Sept. 8. A movie is shown from
6-8 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month.
On movie nights, the music continues until dusk.
The concert lineup and movie picks haven’t been announced yet.
Last year, "Daddy Daycamp," "Surf’s Up!" and "Over the Hedge" played on the outdoor big screen.
Twelve weeks of concerts plus three movies cost $12,500-$15,000, Usselman said.
Prior to Rychlik’s donation, the city raised about $4,000 and had a small portion of money left over from last year.
Donations still are being accepted to help cover costs such as providing portable toilets. Any "extra" funds raised go toward next year’s series.
Organizers also are searching for somebody to provide free popcorn on movie nights.
For details or to donate, call the city clerk’s office at 683-4139.
Ashley Miller can be reached at ashleyo@sequim gazette.com.