SHOCASE Gala concert draws appreciative crowd

An appreciative crowd of some 200 attended the SHOCASE Celebration Gala held Saturday in the Sweet Home High School Auditorium.

“I thought it was fabulous,” said Shirley Austin, the SHOCASE board member who led the committee organizing the semi-formal show. “We got a lot of really great comments, and people loved the diversity of the acts. I thought the VIP reception went very well.”

The reception gave donors and others a chance to meet the musicians and enjoy a spread provided by Denim and Pearls catering and Little Town Celebrations. Sweet Home High School Key Club members volunteered to staff the reception and the concert.

Sponsors included Samaritan Health Services; Gary and Pam Rassmussen, who have supported the efforts of SHOCASE and its predecessor, the Sweet Home Auditorium Remodel Committee, for years; Boulder Falls Inn in Lebanon; and The New Era.

The purpose of the gala to celebrate the effects of what SHOCASE has been doing in the past couple of years, with its emphasis on upgrading the high school auditorium and promoting music and other art programs in the community and schools, Austin said.

The organization has advocated for increased music education in Sweet Home elementary schools.

Volunteers with the organization have repaired and painted the stage, and SHOCASE has contributed funds for new lighting and sound in the auditorium, new front stage curtains and other improvements.

This year, SHOCASE is specifically raising funds to replace the tattered backstage curtains in the auditorium.

The Gala concert was headlined by Douglas Webster, the “Broadway Baritone,” of Portland, who performed a wide range of Broadway and jazz favorites, as well as a selection from the opera “The Marriage of Figaro,” intermixed with jokes, anecdotes from his career in Broadway and opera, and about other performers he’s known.

Other performers included Stefani Brown, a SHOCASE board member and local school counselor, who performed “Orange Colored Sky;” and vocalists Jenny Grove, singing “Never Enough,” Cathy Cheshire, performing “Never Alone,” 96-year-old vocalist Mac McNulty, who sang “What a Wonderful World; Brom Sherwood, who sang the Smokey Robinson hit “You Really Got A Hold on Me” with his own piano accompaniament; David Dominy, singing “The Way You Look Tonight,” and Tad Atrell, performing “Reckless Love.”

Others performers were Moriah Winn, who sang and played “When You Believe” from the movie “Prince of Egypt” on the violin; the local Helland Family, who sang a gospel number, “A Beautiful Life” with a variety of bluegrass instruments; Maren Weld on the piano, performing “Midnight Rhapsody;” ballet dancers Sophia Mathison, Camilla Robertson and Lillian Wu, who performed “Still Life” to ,music from “Behind the Waterfall” choreographed by Rebecca Jones of Sweet Home; and cellist Allison Hurst, with piano accompaniment by Scott Swanson for “The Swan” and “Palladio.”

While its primary purpose was not as a fund-raising event, the concert raised about $1,000 in proceeds, she said. Those funds will help SHOCASE support art programs in the community and in the schools.