Jane Brown, center, was the winner of the grand prize Soul Bingo game, winning the tuition waiver from Rend Lake College. She is pictured here with, from left, a young bingo caller; host Mz. Erma-Jean So-Fly; Andrea Davey, RLC recruitment and student services specialist; and Carrie Gibbs, director of the Shrode Art Center at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts.
MT. VERNON (June 24, 2021) -- When Jane Brown of Mt. Vernon landed the final number during the grand prize game at Soul Bingo on Wednesday night, she knew just who she wanted to give the prize to.
“I am so excited for my grandson,” Brown said.
Mt. Vernon Township High School graduate Camden Beckley will be gifted a tuition waiver worth 12 semester hours for this upcoming fall. Brown, who graduated from RLC in 1987, said the timing for the award could not have been more perfect.
“He was going to go next week to sign up for classes,” she said.
The Soul Bingo event was hosted by the Mz. Erma-Jean So-Fly at the Rolland Lewis building in Mt. Vernon. DJ music was provided by Starr Child. Jessica Brown is the artist in residence at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts this week, and she created the character of a retired “Soul Train” dancer and grandmother who works as a lively bingo caller. Joining in on the fun were friends from the Haus of Glitter in Providence, RI, who all added to the fun and funky atmosphere.
Mz. Erma-Jean So-Fly, left, played by Jessica Brown, shares a laugh with six-year-old Nora Gibbs during the Soul Bingo event at the Rolland Lewis building in Mt. Vernon. Gibbs attended the evening with her mom, Monica Gibbs of Nashville, TN, and her father, Gibbs, is an RLC alum.
Brown said the purpose of the Soul Bingo performance art piece is to present an opportunity for an all-ages, cross-generational good time.
“We want to give people permission to be themselves and to go back to the time that felt good to your soul,” Brown said. “We are just trying to curate a good time. “
The Haus of Glitter characters lead a dance party with those attending the Soul Bingo event Wednesday evening.
In addition to winning the top prize of the evening, Jane Brown said she enjoyed watching the children and adults alike have such enthusiasm and high energy throughout the night.
“It was awesome. I really enjoyed it,” she said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The Lady J Spectacle sponsors include Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, Toni Smith, Banterra Bank, Illinois Humanities and Rend Lake College. More events are planned throughout the weekend, including Thursday Night Live at Cedarhurst tonight, a mini-parade on Saturday afternoon and The Great Spectacle at Cedarhurst on Saturday evening.