Cranston’s Rotary Club will be jingling all the way to Park Theatre on Dec. 19 for their first holiday concert in collaboration with students from the Cranston High School East and West music …
Cranston’s Rotary Club will be jingling all the way to Park Theatre on Dec. 19 for their first holiday concert in collaboration with students from the Cranston High School East and West music programs. While the club has primarily conducted smaller events such as poker tournaments and touch a truck at Garden City Center in the past, Rotary is having a go at staging a larger event.
Rotarian Roy Evans said the club has never held an event around the winter holiday season or directly with the school department. Evans added that the club hatched the idea this past summer after Ed Brady, co-owner of the Park Theatre, spoke at one of the club’s weekly meetings. The club wanted to put on an event that would help the club, Cranston and the Park Theatre since it’s a local venue. Rotarians worked with Emily Johnson, Music Program Supervisor for the Cranston Public Schools, during the summer so when students returned to school in the fall, they already knew this event was coming and could prepare their repertoire.
When the Rotary Club first reached out about the holiday concert, Johnson’s initial reaction was as follows: “We are lucky to have a very collaborative music department, and while our schools might be rivals in athletics, music is one way that we can show how we are ‘One Cranston.’ We are excited to be given the opportunity to showcase the music departments of both sides of the city through this event, and thank the Rotary for putting everything into motion.”
The holiday concert will kick off with the Cranston East Orchestra, followed by the Cranston East and Cranston West Concert Choirs and ending with a full Christmas carol sing along; roughly 180 students will participate in the event and each group will perform about 30 minutes of repertoire. Johnson said the schools have been preparing for this event since the first week of school.
“We have been singing and playing holiday and winter music since September,” she said. “We are all very excited to share the repertoire we have been working on with the Cranston community.”
Johnson also thanked student musicians' families for their continued support and the Cranston Public Schools administration.
“It is not only events like this, but the day to day hard work and excellence of both our student musicians and teachers that led Cranston to be named a ‘Best Community for Music Education’ this past year.”
The Rotary Club is looking to sell all 1,000 tickets and hopes the holiday concert becomes an annual Cranston event. Proceeds will be split between the Rotary Club and the music departments; the schools can use the money how they see fit and the Rotary Club will put the money toward its scholarship fund.
“All the money gets given back – all the proceeds feed back to Cranston,” said Evans.
Historically, the Rotary Club has awarded four $1,000 scholarships annually to graduating seniors. Lori Adamo, who’s the Director of Community Service for the Rotary Club Currently, said the club is looking to increase the monetary award given to the four students.
“We are really excited this being first annual concert and hope it’s a great success,” said Adamo.
Adamo added that the sing along portion of the event will include Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls and Oh Christmas Tree.
Tickets for the holiday concert are available online for $20 (plus $2 for tax) at theparkri.com. Kids ages five and older will need a ticket, however, those under five years old are free but should sit in a caregiver’s lap during the concert. Tickets will still be available for purchase at the box office the day of the show.
The concert will be 80 to 90 minutes long with one intermission at which family-friendly snacks and drinks will be served at the Park Theatre concession stands.
Evans said if the demand for the concert is there next year, he’d love to see the Rotary Club hold the event two days instead of one. He added that he is looking forward to the Cranston community coming together – East and West – celebrating Christmas in the Park Theatre.
“That’s a real comeback story to the Park Theatre, and I’m happy to celebrate that comeback by having a civic concert with our students in that Park Theatre. To me, it’s a perfect storm of good things coming together,” Evans said.