Lip-syncing for a cause
Avalon Sleeveens preparing for upcoming charity show
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.
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.