Lip-sync­ing for a cause

Avalon Sleeveens pre­par­ing for up­com­ing char­ity show

The Compass - - News - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The Avalon Sleeveens are turn­ing their at­ten­tion to char­ity again for an up­com­ing show this April.

The Avalon Sleeveens are a theatre group based out of Dildo, with mem­bers of all ages com­ing from all cor­ners of the Con­cep­tion Bay North area to put on a great show – one that has left its mark on all those who have at­tended their per­for­mances over the last eight years.

The Sleeveens’ per­for­mances mainly fo­cus on lip-sync­ing, with a spe­cific theme set for each per­for­mance such as clas­sic rock or coun­try artists. Through­out the shows, they try their best to im­per­son­ate the per­sona of the artist they’re per­form­ing as, while also mak­ing sure the au­di­ence is hav­ing a good time.

The Sleeveens tend to in­cor­po­rate a char­ity into the night’s show, with pro­ceeds go­ing to­ward a new char­ity each time.

To date, the Sleeveens’ ef­forts have raised ap­prox­i­mately $115,000 for var­i­ous char­i­ties in the area – men­tal health, can­cer and other such causes are all sub­jects the Sleeveens have do­nated to in the past.

This time around, the group is hop­ing to raise aware­ness for autism, with an up­com­ing coun­try gospel show on April 14 at the SUF Lodge in Dildo.

“Ev­ery show we do is in aid of char­ity,” said Andrew Pretty, a mem­ber of the Avalon Sleeveens. “Our lo­cal min­is­ter’s son has autism, and he’s very in­volved with the autism so­ci­ety. Since we had planned on do­ing a gospel show, we fig­ured it fit pretty well to in­cor­po­rate the autism so­ci­ety in this one, given how in­volved in that or­ga­ni­za­tion our min­is­ter is.”

The group no­ticed the autism so­ci­ety was one char­ity or­ga­ni­za­tion that didn’t get as much recog­ni­tion as oth­ers, which they said was a ma­jor fac­tor be­hind the de­ci­sion to ded­i­cate this show to the so­ci­ety.

They saw it as a way to not only raise aware­ness for the so­ci­ety and its mes­sage, but to help raise some money.

This is the first time the 22-per­son-group has fo­cused on autism, and em­cee Linda Hal­f­yard says it’s go­ing to be a bit dif­fer­ent than their usual shows due to the more re­li­gious tone of the per­for­mances.

“Usu­ally, in be­tween per­for­mances, I’ll come out and tell a few jokes here and there to make sure no one gets bored while they wait for ev­ery­one to get ready. Plus, it keeps a smile on their faces,” she said.

“But this show is a lit­tle more se­ri­ous than ones we’ve done in the past, since we’re fo­cus­ing on gospel mu­sic. It’s still go­ing to be fun, of course, but we’re mak­ing a few changes – I might ease up on some of the jok­ing, and un­like many of our past per­for­mances, there won’t be an open bar at this one. It’s a re­spect thing, re­ally.”

The Avalon Sleeveens are used to sold-out shows, with au­di­ence numbers reach­ing into the 300-400 range.

De­spite the slight dif­fer­ences in this up­com­ing show, the Sleeveens are an­tic­i­pat­ing a sim­i­lar turnout this time around as well, adding most of their tick­ets have al­ready been sold. A pas­sion for the per­form­ing arts, as well as char­ity work, has driven the group to con­tinue with their shows over the last eight years. Hav­ing started with 11 mem­bers, that num­ber has just about dou­bled since 2010.

Orig­i­nally, the group was do­ing four or five shows a year, with the an­nual Christ­mas events be­ing a par­tic­u­lar favourite, but has since shifted to do­ing around three shows a year due to the amount of time and ef­fort re­quired by group mem­bers to throw to­gether the qual­ity per­for­mances fans are used to. “It’s a big un­der­tak­ing – we’re in here ev­ery Sun­day night, some­times un­til 9 at night, prac­tis­ing and re­hears­ing, mak­ing sure ev­ery­thing is per­fect,” said Ira Hal­f­yard, also a mem­ber of the group. “So it can be dif­fi­cult at times, es­pe­cially when you con­sider work and ev­ery­thing else ev­ery­one has on their plate, but we all love it, and be­ing able to give so much to these char­i­ties is re­ally a driv­ing force be­hind it.

“We try our best to push the char­ity’s mes­sage and do what we can to help, all while do­ing some­thing we thor­oughly en­joy.”

The Avalon Sleeveens’ next char­ity show is tak­ing place at the SUF Lodge, lo­cated in Dildo on Satur­day, April 14.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The Avalon Sleeveens have been en­ter­tain­ing crowds with their per­for­mances across the Avalon Penin­sula for the last eight years.om Carbonear or Har­bour Grace lo­cal doesn’t sit well with all res­i­dents.

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