PARIS — Scores of performers and crew are readying for this year’s Christmas for Teens spectacular, which will raise funds for needy Oxford Hills teens.
“It is a truly spectacular show with beautiful music in a picturesque setting,” the show’s producer Cynthia Wescott said of the annual fundraising event for the Teens for Christmas program.
About 80 performers – including a 40-member all-volunteer community chorus – are rehearsing for the show, which will be held on Friday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School auditorium in Paris. The snow date is Dec. 5 at the same place, but at 2 p.m.
Tickets for the show are available at Book N Things on Main Street in Norway, the Valhalla Store in Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School and at the door on the night of the performance.
The benefit show – the largest fundraiser of the year – has garnered $40,700 to help 2,563 teens in eight Oxford Hills towns since its advent in 2000, said Jean Delamater of Teens for Christmas program.
“It’s too bad we have to be doing things like this, but people (benefit volunteers) are there for the right reasons,” said Wescott of the hundreds of people who have volunteered their time and talent to produce the annual fundraising show.
Wescott said one of her adult volunteers told her she was volunteering because she had been one of those thousands of teens in need who were helped one Christmas.
Wescott calls this year’s production a “talent spectacular.”
There are dancers and singers, solos and duets, storytellers, a 40-voice chorus. There’s the Christmas Story, a narrator, a string quartet, the March of the Kings, a Christmas on Broadway production and so much more, Wescott said.
The high school drama club, a senior student doing her senior class project, professionals and amateur actors, a “wonderful” student crew behind the scenes and accompanying pianist, Virginia Noble, all contribute to the success of the show.
“We couldn’t do the show without her,” Wescott said of the longtime pianist accompanist.
Wescott said The Chamber Choir will be directed by Dennis Boyd of the Oxford Hills School District music department. There will be a mother/daughter Ukulele duo featuring Jen St. Pierre and Chyanna. Britt Anderson and Jake Dole will do a vocal duet and Tom Curtis with his bass voice will sing the Christmas Waltz, Wescott said.
There will be solos performed by Patricia Howe, Sydney Bivens and Christie Paul. The Wonder stage and production crew is headed up by Christian Ricci, who makes sure the complicated show runs smoothly with lights, sound, scenery and props, Wescott said.
She added the Christmas characters appear in the second half of the show with storyteller, Kristen Kimball, explaining the events of that night to Sara Frutos, who is taking notes as part of the “Note-A-Friends,” who set the Bethlehem scene with a compelling Christmas Folk Song.
“Our wonderful singing Christmas Angel who will appear to hover above our heads is Brehna Jenkins,” she said.
Wescott said she is pleased the ticket price has remained stabled over the last few years – $10 for adults and $7 for students.
Delamater said The Christmas for Teens program is supported by businesses, individuals, churches, civic group, military groups, etc. Applications are filled out by a parent, or guardian.
In the case of a homeless teen, a responsible adult in his or her life, such as a guidance counselor or teacher, often makes the referral, she said.
Delamater said all applicants must meet economic guidelines, and be a full-time student at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, the Oxford Hills Technical School and the Oxford Hills Middle School.
Requests include bedding, clothing, especially warm items, gift certificates for food, music, games, sports items, personal care items and books.
The program started with 60 teens in 2000 and has peaked at 228. Last year, 176 teens were served.
“We never know how many to expect. Applications are already coming in and with the present economy in the area, we expect to be very busy this year,” Delamater said.
The deadline for applications is Thursday, Dec. 3.
Applications for Christmas for Teens are available at Community Concepts in Paris, and at the Guidance Departments of OHMS and OHCHS. For further information, contact Jean Delamater at 539-4587 or send donations and applications to Christmas for Teens, care of Rightstart Inc., P.O. Box 726, Norway, ME. 04268