I had a wonderful time this evening at the No Place Like Home concert to benefit Hospice of Huntington.
The stage was filled with lots of talent, including good friends like Clint McElroy, C.E. Wilson, Ryan Hardiman, Mary Olson, Linda Reynolds, Jack Cirillo and Jane Modlin (to name just a few) and quite a few young performers who are veterans of First Stage Theatre - special kudos to Maggie Saunders, Elizabeth Schmitz, Hannah Stevenson, Elijah Boyles and Caleb Donahoe for their fantastic solos!
A tip of the hat to directors Mary and Tommy Smirl - it's a huge undertaking to put together a show like that, and they did a fantastic job!
Here's the story from today's Herald-Dispatch:
It was a unique fundraiser that brought tears, smiles and laughter to the audience at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center in Huntington on Saturday night.
A musical called No Place Like Home was put on by the Friends of Hospice House to benefit Hospice of Huntington. It was compiled using stories submitted by families whose lives had been impacted by the Hospice House.
Paul Callicoat, co-owner of Route 60 Music, lost his parents seven months apart 14 years ago. Hospice of Huntington was there at the end of both of their lives, helping them and the family during the final days.
"When they asked me to help, I was honored," said Callicoat, who played the ukelele for one of the songs. "They took great care of my parents and made it easier for us children. I've always respected the organization because they were there for my family when the time came."
Charlene Farrell, president and CEO of Hospice of Huntington, said the event encompassed the emotions of the families. But it wasn't all tears and sadness. Farrell said once they know the battle is over and the end is near, it's easier to enjoy the time that's left. That usually means lots of love, laughter and smiles.
Farrell praised the efforts of co-directors Tommy and Mary Smirl, Lara Donahoe, Linda Reynolds and Connie Anthony, along with the producers, musicians, performers and stage crew that helped put it together.
Sonya Hall, the president of the Friends of Hospice, said the idea spawned from conversations about how Hospice of Huntington had touched lives and the need to share those stories. She also said it fit as a fundraiser because of how personal it was.
"It's a musical based on their stories," Hall said. "Everywhere we go, we hear from people who have been touched by Hospice."
Performers included a children's Angel Choir, area high school students and residents.
All the proceeds benefit Hospice of Huntington.