STARS come out in the GROVE
Big turnout at event redux raises $1,000 for city librarys public-art project
About 275 friends and relatives gathered in Forest Groves giant living room Saturday.
Or at least thats what the resurrected Stars in the Grove felt like as a nearly packed house clapped and hooted for 25 community members who shared their various talents in Pacific Universitys Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center.
Though we didnt know all the performers personally, it turned out we knew them all as neighbors: The Tuality Healthcare nurse, the Intel employee, the Pacific University student, the First Christian Church members and, of course, a passel of kids ranging from a preschooler to high school seniors.
They wore jeans and boots, suits and ties, white tights and black patent-leather shoes, sparkling sequins and swashbuckling pirate garb complete with swords.
Once a regular Forest Grove event, Stars in the Grove ended 20 years ago after its popularity faded and its yearly audiences shrank. But Lois Hornberger, a former executive director of the Forest Grove Chamber of Commerce who now handles conferences for Pacific University, raised the idea of bringing it back as a way to celebrate Taylor-Meades 20th year. Pacific and the chamber partnered to make it happen.
Current Chamber Director Howard Sullivan worried the audience might be small. You always have that at the back of your mind, he said.
But the show was a success in every way. It moved quickly with a great variety of acts, all of which were well done. Pete and Pat Truax were a perfect emcee duo, with Pats easygoing charm offsetting Petes classic mix of serious reflection and deadpan humor.
And through ticket sales, the Forest Grove Public Arts Commission raised more than $1,000 toward a public-art project that will feature the work of world-renowned glass artist Ed Carpenter.
The show started off on a quiet note when 9-year-old Riley Reynolds walked out on stage by himself. There had been no introduction and he paused halfway to the microphone when he noticed the huge crowd leaving some in the audience uncertain about whether he was part of the show.
Then he stepped up to the mic and with a perfect combination of innocence and guts began his a capella versions of This Pretty Planet and America.
Young Andrea, 5, and Caleb, 7, Richardson each offered Suzuki method classics she on the violin and he on the piano.
There were four great dance numbers, including one with ribbons and acrobatic moves. A trio of Forest Grove High School students gave a preview of the upcoming spring musical, Gilbert and Sullivans Pirates of Penzance. There was also a harp solo, a healthy mix of singers and a beat boxer, Robert Maughan, who learned his craft on YouTube.
Maughans starling-like vocal mix of rhythmic buzzing, chirping and booming brought curious smiles to most of the faces in the crowd.
Its not my genre, but I was impressed. It takes some talent to do that, said Ron Outcalt, a barbershop quartet member who himself had performed at long-ago Stars in the Grove shows.
Outcalt, who was there to support a trio of singers from his church, said during intermission that he was glad to see Stars back in business.
So was Evelyn Orr, whose son was part of the Pirates of Penzance trio. Look at what we have in little Forest Grove, she said. Im loving this. I think its great.
Nobody pretended it was Broadway quality careful listeners probably caught a few memory slips or out-of-tune moments but it was exactly what promoters hoped for: a good, fun show with talented performers who love their art.
The Fields of Praise trio from First Christian Church captured that spirit when it ended the evening with the song Anyway by Martina McBride.
At one point, the lyrics allude to the fact that not every song can be a showstopper. You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in, that tomorrow theyll forget you ever sang ...Sing it anyway!
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