Sun, Dec. 15

Y.E.S. The Arc Christmas dinner, show earns applause

Y.E.S. The Arc of Cottonwood held its 31st annual holiday dinner-dance celebration at the Sedona Hilton Resort on Saturday evening, Dec. 10. Dinner was served to more than 300 people and the evening's activities were capped with dancing to the rhythms of The Mogollon Band, featuring Duane Moore. Between those two events the Y.E.S. The Arc performers entertained the guests.

But "entertain" barely begins to describe the impact of this performance on the crowd. The room filled with laughter, exploded with frequent loud applause and cheers, mellowed in the Christmas sing-alongs and shed a few warm tears in the readings of poems that were written and/or read by ARC clients.

The ARC Dancers and the Arc Choir perform with enthusiasm that ignites the heart and soul of every person in the audience. Broadway or Phoenix may have the professional dancers and singers, but they can't match the magic this group creates. They absolutely love what they're doing and it's obvious they love each other. And we respond with our love and appreciation for their efforts.

From the flight of the angels to open the show, we were treated to Christmas carols and the audience was urged to join in. The Jewish festival of lights, Hanukkah, was celebrated with the lighting of a menorah, a traditional song and a group forming a circle to dance the hora, lead by Miray Corbin.

Matt Quail portrayed an eagle in a tribute to the winter solstice. There was Frosty the Snowman, Santa and elves ­ all the usual stars of the season. Instead of a sled with reindeer, the elves formed a Boogie Woogie Choo-Choo Train. Stewart Petterson, playing Santa, stole the moment with his dance a la Elvis. Another showstopper was Rebecca Young as vampish Patsy Claus, sashaying and dolling up for a Claus family reunion.

What's a Christmas show without a Grinch? We might not think of Richard Fridley as that crotchety old guy, but he put on a good act. The show concluded with the entire troupe singing about Love and Peace on Earth in concert with some of the Verde Valley Voices, parents, ARC Staff members, and guests.

Beside the few names mentioned here, every one of the ARC performers was outstanding and I urge all members of the community to share the experience. The show was video-recorded by Robert Emerson of Video Alchemy and DVDs will be available at Y.E.S. The Arc. Call for information: 634-2049.

Special kudos is due the production team that design and create the colorful costumes, props and sets. For this show to be a success a first-rate team of stage managers is essential and they fill the bill ­ very first-rate! Most of all, there's Jennifer Schauffler-Vircsik who choreographs and trains all the performers, rehearsing tirelessly and enthusiastically to produce this wonderful event with the vital assistance of co-director and scriptwriter, Ginna Buchanan-Leuenberger.

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