Front and center |

Front and center

Wren Wertin

The lights go down. The sound turns up. It’s showtime.

Dance, music and drama are the focus of the evening, which is being held as a fund-raiser to allow local nonprofits the chance to perform in the Vilar Center. According to members of the local performing arts community, it’s a cause worth supporting.

“Every seat in the house is a good seat,” said JoAnn Moore, president of Friends of the Dance. “It’s state of the art, and such an honor for these kids to be on that stage. They feel they have arrived. The staff treats them as though they are the artists they desire to be.”

“They love it – it’s Broadway,” said Liane Gulizia, director of the Eagle Valley Children’s Chorale.

The Vail Youth Ballet, the Sound Waves (part of the chorale) and the performing troupe of the Vail Performing Arts Academy will be offering multiple scenes in the two-act variety show. In between scenes, professional musicians will add to the holiday feel with their own work. It will be a quick-moving show with a little bit of everything.

Most of the scenes will be holiday-themed, such as “Snow,” a dance from “Nutcracker,” “Reindeer Jive,” a festive, funky song and “Sabbath Prayer,” a reverent song from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

All proceeds will go to the Buckman/Blount Fund, which helps community groups that want to perform in the valley’s premiere theater, the Vilar Center. All three of the organizations have been beneficiaries of the fund, which is why they’re involved in the show.

In many places, it’s unusual for local groups to perform in a professional theater such as the Vilar. For the theater to slate a nonprofit show, not only will they not make any revenue from ticket sales for that day, but they also incur expenses by providing the staff. The fund offsets these costs, as well as helping local children learn the ropes.

“It becomes a win-win situation,” said Vilar Theater Director Kris Sabel. “The goal is to get the kids performing. Of all these kids, maybe 5 to 10 percent of them will go on to have careers. But the rest of them will go on to become benefactors and patrons and audience members of tomorrow. They see what it takes on this side.”

Pat Hamilton and Peter Vavra are but two of the professional musicians who are donating their time and art to the evening. The two often collaborate on projects, Vavra tickling the ivories and Hamilton composing and singing.

“Lord knows we have a lot of visual arts, and a lot of sports, but with the exception of Bravo!, the performing arts really struggle in our valley,” said Vavra. “We don’t want the valley to be entirely a jock town … It’s important for the community to be as diverse as possible.”

“A Community Holiday Concert” will be performed Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek. For more information, call 845-TIXS.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.

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