By MIKE CHAIKEN
Once again, on Saturday, the annual Holiday Showcase of Stars will grace the St. Paul Catholic High School stage.
The show, which is marking its 12th anniversary, fills a special niche in the holiday season, explained its organizer Debbie Schur.
“There are a number of wonderful Christmas concerts in our town, but there really is no variety type Christmas show,” said Schur in an email interview. “The caliber of talent in our community is amazing and our cast is chock full of these people who are so willing to give of their talents.”
The show was not intended originally to be an ongoing entertaining venture, explained Schur.
“The show was started as a fund raiser for St. Anthony School but quickly evolved into a highly anticipated community event.”
The show, however, continues to bolster the St. Anthony School community. “One-hundred percent of the proceeds go to the school. We fund raise throughout the year to cover minimal costs. Costs are kept to a minimum because of the generosity of our cast and crew.”
The show’s willingness to embrace the Christmas season is another reason for its longevity, explained Schur.
“I think one of the reasons this show is a great way to welcome in the Christmas season is that we address the Christmas season, not the politically correct holiday season,” explained Schur. “The numbers are spiritual and Christmas songs. We try to embrace the true meaning of Christmas.”
The talent on stage, noted Schur, is also key to the show’s continuing success. And this year’s cast is no exception, she said.
“The talent, as always, will be tried and true,” said Schur. “(There are) wonderful, talented voices, dancers and fun loving cast and crew, as always, giving their all to entertain and touch the hearts of our audience.”
“I love the mix of talent we have brought together this year,” said Schur. “We have returning veterans and many new faces. Maria Salice is once again our music director. Her love of music and her sheer talent are gifts to this production.”
In addition to the music and dancing, said Schur, “This year, we are going to be having some guest stars reading some ‘Reasons For Hope’ stories to the kids here and there throughout the show. We believe that the hope theme will resonate with the crowd this year. With such turmoil in our world we hope that this wonderful evening will offer everyone a respite from all their worries.”
Children always have been part of the Showcase of Stars and it has offered Schur an opportunity to watch them grow up on stage.
“The Showcase of Stars is a family and as with any family we watch ‘our kids’ grow up, through this show. Many have gone on to stardom and it is very rewarding to know that this show may have played a small part in their success stories,” said Schur. “The kids coming back year after year is something I really look forward to each October when we start rehearsals. The adults are always fan favorites and are the talented ‘relatives’ we rely on each year.”
This year, the show is dubbed, “A Reason for Hope.” And the show is dedicated to Michele Boyko, an active community volunteer who passed away earlier in 2015.
“Each year while we are in the midst of preparing for the current show, one of us comes up with a theme for next year’s show,” said Schur. “That did not happen last year so we entered 2015 without a theme.”
“With the loss of our dear friend Michele Boyko and the state of affairs in our world, I just felt that we were all in need of a little hope. From there, ‘A Reason for Hope’ was born.”
Boyko was chosen for the show’s dedicaton, said Schur, because “Michele was a member of the Showcase family and while her presence is terribly missed her wonderful spirit of hope is felt in all we do. With the theme of hope, it was just perfect to dedicate the production to her memory.”
“She was a great cheerleader for our show and her passing has left a huge void. While we cannot fill that void, we will work around it to create a show that would,” said Schur.
The 12th annual Holiday Showcase of Stars presents “A Reason for Hope.” The curtain goes up 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5 at St. Paul Catholic High School, 1001 Stafford Ave., Bristol.
Tickets are available at TicketRiver.com, St. Anthony Rectory, the Greater Bristol Chamber of Commerce, and A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center.
For more information contact Debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org or Joan at (860)589-5692.
PHOTOS by TAMMI NAUDUS