Coming down a chimney in Stonington on Saturday, Dec. 6 is
the 2008 Local United Network to Combat Hunger (LUNCH) holiday concert. Since
1995, The LUNCH Holiday Show is an annual concert and original stage play
which brings together students and professional musicians to parody various
aspects of pop culture. The 2008 performance is “Harry Shopper and the Order
From Phoenix” based on a Harry Potter theme.
In the show, Santa finds himself short of
workers and has to train a new batch of recruits at Hogwarts School, while the
students are off on Christmas break.
“This is a family entertainment event with
music and magic for all ages,” explains LUNCH’s founder Bill Pere, who is also
the Executive Director of the Connecticut Songwriters Academy and an official
Connecticut State Troubadour.
Songs of the season, both humorous and
thoughtful, will be performed to benefit local social service agencies. The
core professional group performing at this annual family concert features
professional artists from the Connecticut Songwriters Association, including
Connecticut State Troubadour and 2003 Independent Artist of the Year Bill Pere;
2007 Immie-Award Winner Kay Pere; and recording artist Larry Batter, who will
be joined by 40 area students from several area schools from Westerly to East
Pere has been involved with music for social
action for many years. He started the holiday show, he said, because he’d
“always seen how the need becomes more acute around the winter months.” In
1995 Pere decided to do something during the holidays to address the need.
Since then the concerts have grown every year.
“Kids who participated the first year are
still involved now. It is great to see how young people grow, not only in
their level of talent and maturity, but in their understanding of the role
that the arts can play in reaching out to meet social needs in the community,”
Pere says. “That is something they can bring to bear as they become adult
members of the communities where they choose to live.”
LUNCH is an all-volunteer program that
combines arts, education, and community outreach. The nonprofit follows the
example set by singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, using the power of popular
music to produce positive social action. Activities raise money and awareness
for programs which address basic human needs such as food, clothing, shelter,
and counseling. LUNCH as a whole has raised almost $1,000,000. The holiday
performance typically raises between $4,000 and $5,000.
Proceeds from the performance and sale of
LUNCH CDs will benefit local Social Service Agencies in providing holiday food
baskets and basic services to families in need. Agencies which benefit from
the LUNCH Holiday events include the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center, the New
London Community Meal Center, the Groton Food Locker, MASH, WARM, Harvest
Home, Covenant House, and many more.
The Holiday Family Concert will be held
Saturday, Dec. 6 (snow date Dec. 13) at the Stonington Community Center,
corner of Route 1 and High St. at 6 p.m., and the show begins at 7 p.m.
Pre-show music, featuring various performers, starts at 6:15. Those attending
are asked to bring a non-perishable food item that can be given to local food
Pere notes, “With the economy as it is, the
need for food assistance and for shelter has been great this year, and several
of the local pantries have reported shortages. Not only do the kids in our
show have a good time, but they know they are helping to address a very real
social need in our region. We appreciate the support we receive from the
community and from local businesses who help sponsor the show. There are more
than 100,000 hungry children under the age of 12 in Connecticut.”
Tickets are very
limited and it is highly recommended that they be purchased in advance, as
there may not be many left on the day of the show. General admission tickets
in advance are $10 (adults), $8 (under age 12), or at the door $12 (adults),
$10 (under age 12).
If you cannot
attend but would like to help with this community outreach, you can sponsor
seats at $10 each, and the tickets will be given to families who otherwise
might not be able to attend. Tickets may be reserved in advance by phone at
860-572-9285 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information,