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Shirley Stary Retirement Celebration

The Lakeside community will celebrate Shirley Stary’s retirement at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15 on the lakefront. Please RSVP if you plan to attend. RSVP NOW! 

For 19 years, Shirley Stary has curated much of the Lakeside Chautauqua experience that you and your family enjoy each summer. After she put the finishing touches on planning the 2024 Hoover season, it was bittersweet when she announced her retirement as Director of Arts & Entertainment in the spring.

Shirley has served Lakeside since 2005 when Keith Addy retired from the position. Since then, Shirley’s name has been synonymous with Chautauqua programming at Lakeside.

She began her tenure at Lakeside as the Vice President of Programming and was responsible for overseeing programming in all four Chautauqua Pillars as well as booking and managing Hoover Auditorium. Under Shirley’s leadership, Lakeside has produced more than 75,000 activities and experiences. Since 2005, Shirley presented 1,693 Hoover and Bandstand shows with a total attendance of 1,052,927 Lakesiders.

Contagious Love for the Arts Shirley’s creativity and hard work have impacted millions of lives, helping Lakesiders deepen their connection and appreciation for the arts. You would be hard-pressed to try and keep pace with Shirley, who juggled the small details and the big picture of more than 3,000 programs each summer. While serving on the Senior Team, Shirley was a champion for the employees, serving as a mentor and keeping the staff on track every step of the way.

She has natural gifts for warm hospitality, finding new programming opportunities to enrich Lakesiders, identifying gaps in the schedule, and developing a plan to make the summer come to life.

Over the years, she has collaborated with the Lakeside Association Board of Directors, including past Program Advisory Committees, community groups and the Lakeside Team, always focusing on ensuring that the mission of Lakeside remained at the forefront and thrives.

Each summer brought new opportunities that Shirley approached with grace and a positive attitude. She planned budgets, put together the puzzle of Hoover shows, and launched new and unique programs making sure the Lakeside experience engaged the next generation while remaining true to herself. Her color-coded calendar was a testament to a quickly approaching season that staff grew to love and look forward to seeing.

“Shirley’s heart is filled with love for Lakeside. It’s contagious,” said Gretchen Colon, V.P. of Advancement & Marketing, who served with Shirley on Senior Team. “She cared about each person she connected with and was a big supporter. She pushed me when I was tired and picked me up when I needed it. She is a dear, dear friend and I’m going to miss her.

”Shirley has a love for the arts and could always be found at the back of Hoover Auditorium beaming as she watched the audience experience a new artist for the first time. Musicians, authors, performers and keynote speakers all raved about the “Stary hospitality” on and off the stage. She always made sure that they not only had everything they needed and wanted for their performance, but that they had a true Lakeside experience before stepping on the Hoover stage.

A One in a Million Friend
Shirley has given her heart and soul to Lakeside,” says Rev. Dr. Charles Yoost, Senior Director of Religious Life & Pastoral Care. “Her knowledge not only of the arts, but of Lakeside and its people is incredible. She is a joy to work with and a ‘natural resource’ on our Programming Team. Besides being a tireless worker, she will go to any length to get the job done. Shirley is also a very caring person and a wonderful friend. She is one in a million.”

Every September, once the Chautauqua summer season had ended, Shirley was lead-ng the effort to start planning the next year. This included attending art showcases and conferences, meeting with agents, booking Hoover shows, and onboarding more than150 seasonal employees.

Most recently, Shirley has been a resource through staff transitions. All three ofthe Chautauqua Pillar Directors were hired after Shirley, and she was very helpful in getting team members acclimated, assisting in any way possible to help them succeed.

“She’s warm, generous, a friend and a co-worker,” says John Mann, Director of Education, “She is an institution. When I switched over to education, I didn’t realize how close the Education Pillar and the Arts & Entertainment Pillar worked together. She’s helped me unbelievably.

”Shirley also created an arts intern experience that has sparked a passion for the arts in many young people. She has even taken interns to conferences to meet agents and potential Lakeside performers, guiding them in the day-to-day operations and mentoring them on their professional career journeys. As a result, dozens of interns have gone on to work in arts management, leading nonprofit organizations and being inspired to complete their master’s degree in arts management.

Shirley’s Legacy at Lakeside
Planning the Sesquicentennial Celebration was a milestone experience for Shirley, one that the Lakeside community had its eye on for years. For the 2023 season, she booked nearly 150 programs.

Shirley’s efforts over the past 19 years will be instrumental in continuing to elevate arts and entertainment performances and experiences in Lakeside. Shirley brought top-notch acts to Hoover, such as Wynonna Judd, Amy Grant, Three Dog Night, Little River Band, Lonestar, Paul Reiser and Tony Danza.

“Shirley is the staple for Hoover and Lakeside,” Lakeside’s CEO Charles Allen says. “She is a person who has driven the vision and the artistic direction of our community. I really appreciate her passion, drive and love, not only for the arts but for this community. I value her professionalism so much, but also our time together and our conversations. She’s special.”

A Passion for the Lakeside Mission
More than anything, Shirley’s legacy will be her genuine and endless passion for Lakeside and its mission.

“Shirley will be missed, not for the hundreds of amazing performances she booked in her career, but for the way she exemplified and nurtured the Lakeside mission,” Director of Recreation & Wellness Katalin Domotorffy says. “She cared for each and every performer, team member, intern and community member with a smile, attention and detail.”

Gratitude from Shirley
“I am so grateful for this depth of experience and my time at Lakeside,” Stary says. “The community has been amazing to me. I have never felt more valued. Lakeside has been so good for my family and extended family, and I worked with amazing people.”

For announcements, check the ‘Event Changes’ button on Lakeside’s homepage.

The event is finished.


Jun 15, 2024

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