An audience that nearly filled The Washington Center for the Performing Arts enjoyed a Sunday afternoon of classic songs and dance steps — all for a good cause, helping to raise funds for homeless and needy children in Thurston and Mason counties.
Sunday’s event was billed “A Really Big Shoe Seven,” the “seven” signifying seven years of putting on an annual benefit concert to raise money for about 1,700 homeless and needy children in eight school districts, as well as for the Olympia nonprofit Community Youth Services.
The “shoe” was a large shoe set up in the lobby that was used to collect donations.
The talent for the concert was supplied by Entertainment Explosion, a Thurston County song-and-dance troupe that has about 60 members, ages 55-85, said Scott Schoengarth, the producer and director of Sunday’s show.
“It’s seniors helping kids,” he said about the concert.
From sponsorships, ticket sales and donations, the goal was to raise $25,000 to add to the $131,000 the event has already raised in its history, he said.
The doors opened about 1 p.m. By 1:30, several hundred people had filled the lower and upper floors of the center in time for the 2 p.m. show.
Songs and dances from throughout the U.S. was the show’s theme, with performers singing songs representative of nearly every state, such as “Georgia on My Mind,” “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “Over the Rainbow.”
Not only did Schoengarth produce and direct the show, but he also got into the act, taking part in a duet of “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma.”
One of the first acts was Steppin’ Out, a trio of senior tap-dancers, otherwise known as Mary Cullen, Pam Casady and Sherry Christianson.
Cullen and Casady said before the show that they had learned to tap dance as children, then began to dance again later in life.
“It’s a lot of work, a lot of rehearsal and a lot of practice, but it’s for a good cause,” Christianson said.
Entertainment Explosion performs throughout the year in Thurston County at the Olympia Farmers Market, Thurston County Fair, Olympia Lakefair and elsewhere, Schoengarth said.Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/bizblog