Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Volunteer Appreciation Party

This was the evening that the Austin CPA Chapter (http://www.cpascount.org/) puts on a party for our volunteers, and I can’t resist writing about this year’s Volunteer Appreciation Party, because while I’m President, this is my responsibility, and I had a heckuva lot of fun with it.

I wanted to put on a murder mystery evening. Because the murder mystery is something you can do yourself, you don’t have to spend very much. The Chapter staff had the great idea of having the party at the Zilker Clubhouse, which is inexpensive, so that left plenty of money to feed everyone a great meal and provide beer and margaritas.

The Zilker Clubhouse overlooks a huge park near downtown, sits on a hill and has a great view of downtown. It’s an old stone house with no a/c – just ceiling fans – but it’s pretty mild weather in April. There’s a great stone patio where you can enjoy the view.

Diane and Kaira at the Chapter found a company that sells murder mystery kits, and we chose “The Pink Lace Diamond,” which is designed for a large group. I think we maybe had 75 people with volunteers and spouses.

When the kit arrived a couple of weeks ago, Kaira called me to figure out a cast of characters, and we assigned parts to the Executive Board members. I picked out someone to be the millionaire, the millionaire’s wife, the playboy, the playgirl…you get the drift. There was one part left, the hotel maid, so I took that.

Later, when I read the script, I realized I was supposed to scream and run on the “stage,” in our case, a clear spot on one side of the diners. I had been roaming around the crowd with a pocket apron, feather duster and mop during the evening to set the mood. I was supposed to scream because I had seen the “dead guy” in my janitor’s closet, you see. I was quite worried about my job of screaming, because I am a very soft-spoken person and often have trouble being loud enough for people to hear me clearly. Anyway, I screamed my brains out and startled the heck out of the crowd. They knew we were playing a murder mystery game and yet they thought something was really wrong. Then I had to faint. I was, however, a terrible actress, much too inclined to giggle while dead.

My friend Jesse had the big part – he played Inspector Clueless. Everybody ad-libs and works loosely through the script, making all kinds of mistakes, which are also funny. I died in the play – the maid is poisoned because she knows too much.

It was a complete hoot. My friends were so darn funny that I kept giggling when I was supposed to be dead. Everyone had a great time, and I was euphoric because we managed to give my friends, who are hard-working volunteers a great party.