Young performers donate talent to hurricane relief |

Young performers donate talent to hurricane relief

Shauna Farnell
Special to the Daily/Annah Scully Vail Performing Arts Academy student Rebecca Richardson sings "Good Morning Baltimore" from "Hairspray" Sunday at the Eagle-Vail Pavilion during a rehearsal for "Can't Stop the Beat."

EAGLE COUNTY – Of all the debris floating in moldy puddles following hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, some of the most heart-wrenching items to see among the wreckage are soaked teddy bears and broken toys.New Orleans resident Shirley Moseley, who lives in Arrowhead during the summer, wanted to find a way for Eagle County children to help the children on the Gulf Coast who have lost their valuables and creative outlets.Moseley thus launched Kids Helping Kids, a program wherein she has gathered thousands of books and toys from children, schools and libraries around Eagle County and shipped them to libraries and recipients in Mississippi and Louisiana. She has also partnered with the Vail Performing Arts Academy, which will make Kids Helping Kids the solitary recipients of proceeds from its “You Can’t Stop the Beat” performance at the Vilar Center on Nov. 19.”It was not the plan to make it a Katrina relief effort because Katrina hadn’t happened yet as we were planning this,” said Vail Performing Arts Academy director Annah Scully. “When things started going bad in the South, we decided we wanted to do something. We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we had kids involved?’ It was exciting to us that there was this local organization. Shirley Moseley knows what the damage is down there. Collecting toys and books was her organization’s first wave of relief. This next wave was shaping up where we could donate our proceeds. We can help kids involved in the arts – replace ballet shoes that have been lost, musical instruments and those sorts of things.”Moseley is designating the funds from “Can’t Stop the Beat” for two separate organizations – the New Orleans Creative Center for the Arts and the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra.

“The (Center for the Arts) is a fabulous institution,” said Moseley. “Children have to compete to get in and they have programs in classical music, creative writing, fine arts and photography. It’s below the French Quarter and it didn’t flood, but there’s a lot of windows out and they can’t use their building now because the National Guard and some out-of-town firemen are living in it at the moment. The Youth Orchestra is in dire straits because they lost their building.”Moseley was still residing in Eagle County when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August. While her house – a 145-year-old specimen in the Garden District – wasn’t flooded, some of the pipes exploded from the pressure when the city turned the water back on following the hurricane. Mainly, however, Moseley wanted to take action to help children who lost possessions after the hurricane.”We were up here during the storm,” Moseley said. “I was glued to the television. A week after the storm, I thought, ‘I can’t sit here like this in paradise with all that’s going on at home.’ My two granddaughters in Houston, they kept seeing the stuff on TV. They’d say to their mom, ‘We’ve got to go to New Orleans to help those people.’ I thought to myself, I bet there are children all over America feeling like this. It’s great for mom and dad to write a check, but it doesn’t give any feelings of relief to the children.””You Can’t Stop the Beat” will feature 60 local children and even some numbers with adult directors. The pieces range from recent Broadway hits like “Wicked,” to classics like “Chicago,” as well as some pop music ensembles and numbers from Disney. As a four-year member of the academy as well as a member of the local ballet, Elle Friedman, 16, said the benefit aspect of this performance is something that really hits home for her.

“I have a couple friends in New Orleans whose homes were destroyed,” said Friedman, whose many numbers in “Can’t Stop the Beat,” will include “Ragtime” from “Chicago.””I think about it whenever we rehearse,” she said. “I think it’s great we’re doing something for people whose lives have changed as a result of the hurricanes. I’m really glad we’re able to help out these other youth organizations.”Vail Performing Arts Academy raised $6,000 in January with its Tsunami Relief performance. While the children in “Can’t Stop the Beat” are happy to use their talent as a tool to raise funds for hurricane relief, Moseley is pleased that her Kids Helping Kids program has taken such a creative turn in its fundraising.”These kids have an avenue to help. It’s wonderful,” she said. “I went to a rehearsal and I was so impressed with the talent of these kids. They’re not lip-synching. They’re doing their own singing. It’s fabulous.”

“You Can’t Stop the Beat” What: “You Can’t Stop the Beat” features local children and professional adults performing various popular pop music numbers and musicals from Broadway and Disney.When: Reception at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19, performance at 7:30 p.m.Where: Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver CreekInfo: General seating tickets for adults are $30 and $20 for children. Preferred seating is $50 per ticket and reception and performance tickets are $100. All proceeds benefit Kids Helping Kids, a local organization dedicated to hurricane relief effort for children in Louisiana and Mississippi. For tickets, call 845-TIXS.

Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext.14632, or, Colorado

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