Athol Lions Variety Show to bring music, comedy, dance and magic to Athol High School

  • The Can Collectors, Carolyn Salls, Julie Johnson and Chris Robichaud, are shown at a rehearsal on the stage at Athol High School. ATHOL DAILY NEWS/Deborrah Porter

  • Mike Hume of Orange. —Deborrah Porter

  • Lynn Gendron of Winchendon. —Deborrah Porter

  • Doc Arsenault of Athol. —Deborrah Porter

  • Scott Hubbard of Orange —Deborrah Porter

Staff Report
Published: 3/13/2019 9:00:16 PM
Modified: 3/13/2019 9:01:00 PM

ATHOL — The 60 plus members of the Athol Lions Club work hard all year to raise thousands of dollars to help the local community, and are known to have fun while doing it. The club’s newest endeavor, a Variety Show, is the brainchild of a sub group and spearheaded by director Dee Wheeler, a second year Lion. It is an ambitious undertaking, set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 at the Athol High School, and offers a kaleidoscope of entertainment — music, dance, drama, magic and humor all rolled into one evening.

There are 20 performers and ensembles, each as unique and exciting as the next. There is sure to be something for everyone throughout the evening and every artist in the line-up has donated his or her time — from sound checks to rehearsals — to help bring a pleasurable night out to members of the community.

The Lions are grateful to the town of Athol for allowing the use of Memorial Hall for interviews, and to the Athol High School for use of its beautiful new auditorium. It is hoped that all 600 of the comfortable new seats are filled on show night.

To help pace the show, the emcees for the evening will be Tim DeVault, District Governor of Massachusetts Lions District 33-A, an Athol Lion for the past 12 years, and Athol Lions Treasurer, Harry Haldt a 23-year Lions Club member, (who will join Richard Chase and 16 fellow choristers from the Quabbin Valley Pro Musica group in singing two of Chase’s original songs. QVPM is the resident chorus of the 1794 Meetinghouse in New Salem, which performs two concerts each year to raise funds for the Meetinghouse operations.

Performers include the ever popular Ed the Wizard who will perform magic, two troupes of dancers from The Dance Studio in Orange, and comedian Bill Slemmer, whose goal is to tickle your funny bone.

Father and son duo Mitch and Josh Grosky will sing “Stars,” a passionate selection from “Les Miserablés,” a dramatic operatic work of art.

Solo artists will perform a variety of music, from their own original songs, to country tunes and rock ballads. Athol Lion Bruce Dunbar will take to the stage for the first time, singing an original tune, and then will accompany Caylin Lee – who auditioned several times for American Idol. Lee’s music can be found on Spotify, iTunes and Amazon.

Singer songwriter Anthony Martel, whose music can be found on SoundCloud (under the music name SinkerSwim), iTunes and Facebook, will sing “Company” an original tune.

Local musician Scott Hubbard, accompanied by Janet Paoletti on the piano, will sing a popular Kenny Rogers tune. Paoletti and Jack Arnot will team up once again with a medley of tunes reminiscent of the old Athol YMCA Minstrel Shows, which ended in the 1990s.

Mike Hume, both an acoustic solo performer, and a member of the local rock group, The Enfield Machine Works Band, will sing a soulful original, “Me & You.”

Lynn Gendron makes her debut on stage with a Journey ballad, “Open Arms.”

A trio of area musicians, The Can Collectors, comprised of Carolyn Salls, Julie Johnson and Chris Robichaud, interject a bit of a Caribbean sound, mixing steel drum with contemporary music selections.

Michael Alber of Manchester, NH, a percussionist for more than 30 years, will perform “Broon’s Bane” by Alex Lifeson on the MalletSTATION, a unique mallet-controlled keyboard instrument.

Doc Arsenault will complete the evening with his crowd-pleasing rendition of “Pretty Woman.”

Prior to the start of the second half, after show goers return from visiting the Athol High School students’ bake table for refreshments and the Lions’ chance basket table, there will be a surprise act in store to set the tone for the second half.

“It’s a wonderful show that we’ve put together,” said Wheeler, “and everyone’s been just awesome. It’s been a wonderful experience working with all the local and non local performers, and the amazing part is — they are all volunteering their time.”

The director said it has been a great experience developing a relationship between the Lions and the Athol High School. “Laura Robinson has been absolutely fantastic as our technical director,” said Wheeler, “She and her team of high school students are handling the sound and lighting — all to help create a top notch show.” She said students have also been recruited to help out with the staging and to man the bake table with the profits benefiting the school’s activity fund. “The performers have been wonderful to work with and we couldn’t ask for a better committee — Kathy Chaisson, Becky Fortin, Lurene Hall, Luanne Pierson and Deborrah Porter. We hope its successful, so we can do it again next year.”

Tickets, available at the door or in advance from Flowerland, Athol Pharmacy and Laurel’s Upper Dimension are: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (60+) and $5 for children 6-12 (under age 5 are admitted free).

Proceeds will benefit the various charities supported by the Athol Lions.

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