Spotlight on youth in this entertaining ‘Showcase’



It’s called the Holiday Showcase of Stars.

And year after year, the spotlight shines brightly on the youngest stars who take the stage to help celebrate the holidays.

The children.

“As always, the children are the heart and soul of our program,” said Debbie Schurr, director of the annual event, which will be held Dec. 2 this year. “Their joy, innocence and exuberance are the intangibles that make it such a special evening. Opening them up to the idea that sharing their talents is what truly makes those talents so precious. That is our goal with them.”

With 14 years of Showcases behind her, Schurr said, “No matter how long I do this, each and every year I am stunned at how quickly the kids chorus members learn. The amazing Maria Salice will teach them a song one week and the next week they have it down pat. And the littlest of them mimic her every mannerism. It’s just too cute.

“The most gratifying part of watching (the children) learn is how proud they are of their accomplishments and seeing them have a desire to share their talents,” said Schurr.

The Showcase, which this year is titled “No Greater Gift,” has served as a launching pad for some of the alumni through the years.

“We have been blessed with an abundance of talent throughout the years,” said Schurr.

“To name a few who have utilized their stage experiences in town to advance their careers,” said Schurr. “Kevin Raponey makes his living in New York City. Brittany Decker is fast moving up the ladder as a newscaster. Katie Stevens was a top eight finalist on ‘American Idol’ and starred in a television series. Corey Gaudreau performs in the Boston area. They were young teens when they started with our show.”

The kids, however, are only one part of the Holiday Showcase of Stars entertainment equation.

“The adult chorus is made up of wonderful people,” said Schurr. “They pour their hearts and souls into this show, doing whatever is needed to make it a success.”

“Their hearts are what I love most about (the adults),” said Schurr. “Talent comes in all different packages. Singers, dancers. Those that labor behind the scenes making props and costumes. Those that make sure the kids chorus is safe and happy on show night. Those that help set up, decorate, bake, then break down and clean up. Those that sell ads for our program book.”

“These are the unsung heroes of this production,” said Schurr.

“Our cast motto is, ‘God always sends us who and what we need to present this show.’ He has never failed us. Ever,” said Schurr.

Even beyond the cast and crew, Schurr said the show has been blessed.

“I cannot say enough about St. Paul Catholic High School and their fearless leader, Cary Dupont,” said Schurr. “His outpouring of generosity and help can not be measured.”

The show helps put many in a holiday spirit, said Schurr.

“I feel the biggest factor which makes this show is the connection we make to our audience,” said Schurr. “It is an intangible but I feel it each year. We like to think we welcome in the Christmas season. There is something for everyone. Singers are always spot on. Dancers are breathtaking and the comedy act , well last year it brought down the house.”

“We as a team believe by sharing our talents and gifts, we give people the opportunity to open their hearts to the spirit of Christmas. If so-mission accomplished,” said Schurr.

The Holiday Showcase of Stars’ “No Greater Gift” will be performed Saturday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul Catholic High School at 7 p.m. Tickets available after all masses at St. Joseph and St. Matthew churches, at both St. Matthew and St. Joseph schools, and the Bristol Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are also available by calling Joan at (860) 589-5692.

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The cast of Holiday Showcase of Stars rehearses on a recent Sunday. (JANELLE MORELLI)