By MIKE CHAIKEN
Sponsors and supporters of the Older Members Associated of the Bristol Boys and Girls Club were treated to some wine, hors d’oeuvres, a sneak preview of the upcoming OM variety show, and a heap of thanks last Thursday.
At the Imagine Nation, the OMs offered up a VIP event, which served as the countdown for the 73rd annual OM Variety Show, “The Happy Days.” The show, which pays salute to the 1950s continues the look back at the music of earlier decades that the show has mined the past few years. Previous shows looked back at the 1980s, 1970s, and 1960s.
This year’s show will be held April 25 and 26 at St. Paul Catholic High School, 1001 Stafford Ave., Bristol.
For the VIP event, cast members of this year’s edition entertained the audience with a medley of songs from the 1950s or inspired by the 1950s.
“It’s a fun show,” said Cammie Lopez, a cast member of the OM show, which is the longest running variety show in the country. “It’s something that families can go to. It’s not just for adults or just for the kids. It touches all generations, especially with the theme this year, the ‘50s… A lot of kids know (the era) through the film (‘Grease’). The parents know (the film, too). Grandparents know the music because they grew up in that era….”
Lopez’s fellow cast member, Melissa Burritt said, “The show itself is a great representation of the community. It’s not just the chorus. It’s not just the kids… And it’s for a great cause: the Boys and Girls Club. They do a lot of great things around town.”
Although the weeks of rehearsal prepping for opening night elicits a small outbreak of aches and pains for cast members, OM show veteran Diane Pelletier said, “No matter how hard it is, we keep coming back. We’re more of a family by doing this. It’s a way of seeing each other once a year for a few months, spending the winter… together, and having fun doing it.”
“It’s going to be a sensational show,” said OM president Mark Divenere in comments he made to the invited VIPs and sponsors. “It’s a family event.”
Allen Stone, who is the show chairman this year, spoke about how the OM show is a family tradition for him. His mother brought him into the show when he was just 3-years-old. He came back to the show in 2010, performing on stage with his daughter.
Michael Suchopar, executive director of the Bristol Boys and Girls Club and Family Center took a moment to praise the OMs who are responsible for staging the variety show as well as providing support to the club. “How do you talk about people who love an organization, devote their lives to an organization… The Older Members of the club are the foundation of this organization… Everything that is wonderful… important, and meaningful (at the club)… is built on what they did.”
By MIKE CHAIKEN