Up With Peo­ple to per­form

Tour­ing mu­si­cal group Up With Peo­ple re­turns to Black­stone Val­ley for two shows

Pawtucket Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSEPH B. NADEAU jnadeau@woonsock­et­call.com

Vol­un­teer singing troupe per­forms tonight, Satur­day

CUM­BER­LAND – Af­ter their two tour buses pulled into the Tran­si­tional Build­ing’s park­ing lot Mon­day even­ing, it didn’t take the Up With Peo­ple crew long to set­tle into their lat­est visit to the town.

Ad­vance team mem­bers Michelle Au­girre of Mex­ico and Likun Tang of China had al­ready pre­pared a sched­ule of com­mu­nity ser­vice events for the show’s 100 cast mem­bers dur­ing the week, and also ar­ranged for the host fam­i­lies needed to up put them up un­til af­ter the shows tonight and Satur­day night.

But there was also a need to set re­hearsal sched­ules for the 7 p.m. even­ing shows with Luis Antonio Gon­za­lez, and also to meet their host fam­i­lies as they ar­rived at the Tran­si­tional Build­ing at high school com­plex off Men­don Road a few min­utes later.

“We’re go­ing to have a great show,” Gon­za­lez promised when tak­ing a minute to talk with mem­bers of the me­dia.

“This is our third city out of 14 on the road,” Gon­za­lez said of the cur­rent tour which be­gan with the open­ing show in Den­ver, Colorado, where Up With Peo­ple main­tains its world head­quar­ters.

“It was fan­tas­tic how 100 cast mem­bers from 15 dif­fer­ent coun­tries and 23 states from the U.S. could come to­gether in four weeks be able to put on this show,” he said.

This year’s cast in­cludes mem­bers from Ire­land, Swe­den, Ja­pan, China, Canada, Ger­many, Mex­ico, the U.S., the Navaho Na­tion and more, he said.

Af­ter the shows in Cum­ber­land on Fri­day and Satur­day, the cast will be off to its next stop on the tour, Portsmouth, N.H. from Sept. 18 -25, and then to Har­rison­burg, VA, Sept. 25 to Oct. 2, and Wash­ing­ton D.C., Oct. 2 to Oct. 9, be­fore the show heads to Ger­many for Euro­pean dates.

Gon­za­lez said a spe­cial visit to Rome was re­cently add to the tour sched­ule, and the cast mem­bers will be per­form­ing two shows on that stop be­tween Dec. 3 and Dec. 10, in­clud­ing one in the Vatican ex­pected to be at­tended by Pope Fran­cis.

As for their stay in Cum­ber­land, Michelle Au­girre said she and Likun Tang have ar­ranged a list of com­mu­nity ser­vice ac­tiv­i­ties in Cum­ber­land, Woonsocket, and Paw­tucket to give the cast mem­bers plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­spire area young peo­ple.

The sched­ule in­cludes vol­un­teer­ing at the Cum­ber­land Se­nior Cen­ter, work­ing with the Of­fice of Child and Youth Learn­ing pro­gram both be­fore and af­ter­school and on Wed­nes­day, a stop at the Woonsocket Se­nior Cen­ter. The cast will also be work­ing at the Paw­tucket Se­nior Cen­ter to help the Samar­i­tans of Rhode Is­land put to­gether an up­com­ing art show at the For­get Me Not gallery, she said.

Vol­un­teerism is part of the Up With Peo­ple mis­sion to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties to con­nect with other peo­ple and in­spire them to take ac­tion to meet the needs of their com­mu­nity.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion seeks to use mu­sic, ac­cord­ing to its mis­sion state­ment, as a means to com­mu­ni­cate with and in­spire peo­ple.

Au­girre said she ex­pe­ri­enced that mis­sion per­son­ally when she joined Up With Peo­ple for a one-year tour as a cast mem­ber five years ago.

“It changed my life and made me see an­other side of the world and my­self that I would not have been able to see if I had stayed at home,” she said.

The year with Up With Peo­ple im­pacted her so much, she de­cided in Jan­uary to be­come a staff mem­ber and restart her con­nec­tion with or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“Now it is my work too, but it is en­joy­able work and I like it more be­cause I get to stay in com­mu­ni­ties for four weeks and get to know the peo­ple in the com­mu­nity,” she said.

For a short time, Au­girre said she be­comes a part of the com­mu­nity, a res­i­dent of sorts, and that brings its own re­wards. “I get to know the peo­ple in the com­mu­nity in gen­eral,” she said.

Up With Peo­ple also helps the com­mu­ni­ties it vis­its, she noted. The or­ga­ni­za­tion will be giv­ing prof­its from the two lo­cal shows to the Cum­ber­land Par­ent Teacher Or­ga­ni­za­tions to en­hance ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties in lo­cal schools, she noted. Up With Peo­ple last vis­ited Cum­ber­land three years ago and at that time, Tang stayed with a lo­cal host fam­ily while a part of the tour­ing group. Tang was able to re­con­nect with his host fam­ily for the re­turn visit and Au­girre said they will be host­ing an­other per­former with other host fam­i­lies this week.

Tick­ets for the fam­ily-ori­ented mu­si­cal per­for­mances are $15 per per­son and are avail­able from Up With Peo­ple’s lo­cal spon­sors in­clud­ing WOON Ra­dio, ReMax Town & Coun­try, The Val­ley Breeze, Chan’s Restau­rant, Mount St. Charles Academy, and also from Cum­ber­land Town Hall and all of the Cum­ber­land PTOs, ac­cord­ing to Au­girre.

More in­for­ma­tion on the lo­cal Up With Peo­ple sched­ule of ac­tiv­i­ties or how to pur­chase tick­ets can be found up­with­peo­ple.org. at

Photos by Joseph B. Nadeau

Cast mem­bers of Up With Peo­ple stand in the gym­na­sium of the Cum­ber­land High School Well­ness Cen­ter on Mon­day night af­ter they ar­rived from a long bus jour­ney. They will per­form two shows this week, this Fri­day and Satur­day.

From left, cast mem­bers Luis Antonio Gon­za­lez, Hidde Meurs and Maya Henry are pic­tured.

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