The first time I did it, I was 11 years old. The local SPCA shelter was low on money and was forced to euthanize the overflow of puppies and kitties. It just about broke my heart. Something had to be done. So, we put on a show.
I envisioned a vaudeville extravaganza with corny skits, music, and written-out parts for the available cast – my two sisters and a couple of our best friends. Even our flea-ridden, mangy collie Kingboy would have a walk-on role.
We canvassed the neighborhood, selling flimsy paper tickets for 75 cents each that Dad had photocopied at work, baked cookies and made lemonade. We hung up a clothesline and pinned an old brocade curtain on it. Any available fold-up chairs were wrangled from the neighbors and lined up hopefully in our garage.
After one whole week of rehearsal – largely consisting of me telling everyone what to do and pitching fits when they WOULD NOT follow my directions – we were ready for the hoards of Harvey Road theatergoers.
And you know what? They came: mothers, fathers, squalling toddlers – even that new black family down the street (exotic for Grand Island) we’d welcomed with a cake. Everyone came with money in their pockets expecting fun, but knowing they were supporting something larger than themselves.
They clapped and listened appreciatively to our overwrought dramas in that hot, fly filled garage. They bought the overpriced brownies and Kool-Aid because five raggedy kids and a reluctant dog wanted to do something big and help something worthy.
I’m doing it again. I’ve put together a crack team of musicians and we’ve recorded a wonderful CD. We’re going to release it at a big party for a really great cause – The Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP). And boy, are they audacious too. They believe that with education and service they can grow and bring healthy food to the West Side of Buffalo.
The tickets aren’t cheap ($20 presale), but all of the proceeds and a percentage of the CD sales will go to MAP. We’d like to buy them a walk in cooler for their fresh, locally-grown produce.
Please join us on Friday, March 28 at 7:00pm at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Buffalo. We’ve upgraded the cookies and lemonade to wine, desserts and appetizers. Instead of five awkward kids you’ll see some of Buffalo’s best jazz musicians. Kingboy the collie won’t be there, but if you’ll come, we promise you one hell of a show.