Around Town Singers put on big Christmas show

By Merja H. Lehtinen - ReminderNews
Suffield - posted Thu., Dec. 15, 2011
'Music in Motion' was an act with five 6-year-olds who performed two acts - including one as angels. Photo by Todd Madison, courtesy of Dan Kehoe. - Contributed Photo

The Around Town Singers and Orchestra performed their fourth annual “Together at Christmas” show on Dec. 9 and 10 at Suffield High School.

Producer, director and founder Dan Kehoe, of Suffield, once again created an extravaganza of talent featuring local people and highlighted by professional acts. The performers range in age from 6 to over 80.

The Friday night and Saturday matinee shows drew more than 400 people to the eighth big show the group has produced since 2008, when the nonprofit organization was formed. Essentially, it serves as Suffield's community chorus and orchestra without taxpayers underwriting the effort. The group is self-funding through the proceeds of the performances.

“We exist to give up and coming talent a professional stage and orchestra with which to perform,” said Kehoe. “The children would have annual talent shows which would be amateur productions with really awful platforms. So I decided to give them a professional stage, so their talents would not be fighting against the stage, but allow them a professional stage from which to highlight their talents.”

The Christmas show is a large undertaking for the group. “We had about 20 acts in the show, both days,” Kehoe said. “Music in Motion” was an act with five 6-year-olds who performed two acts - one as ginger bread cookies, and the other as angels.
The Around Town Singers also has an 18-member live orchestra, just like in a Broadway show.

The next show is “Candlelight, Champagne, Chocolate, and Love Songs” around Valentine's Day, which is a cabaret setting.
The cost of the large shows is about $8,000 a show, and the group just about breaks even. “The Christmas show especially, as it requires us to pay for the janitors, the costumes, and the professional sound system,” said Kehoe.

“We had two of our favorite acts - the ventriloquist Judy Buch, frequently on our stage from 2008 on - and the popular Maeve Flanders was the guest vocalist for the show. It is always a mixture of professionals and amateurs. We have taken a lot of amateurs and elevated them to professional status, but it is still good to showcase professionals,” said Kehoe.

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