Arts & Entertainment

'Songs for Sandy Hook' Performances Uplifted Sussex County Audiences

January 20, 2013 at 5:32 PM

SUSSEX, NJ – “It is better to light one little candle than to stumble in the dark,” sang a group of gentle children’s voices. 

So began the evening called “Songs for Sandy Hook,” at the Cornerstone Playhouse in Sussex on Friday and Saturday evenings, January 18 and 19. 

The program was inspired by Kevin Kane, and evolved through Facebook, as friends and acquaintances responded to his idea to “do something” to respond to the recent tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.   

Sign Up for E-News

“Tonight is a night to turn off the news and enjoy the gift of time with one another.  Tonight is a night to share our gifts with each other, and be grateful for everything we have, do, and are,” wrote Kane to his audience, on the program.

“Twenty six paper bag luminaries outline the stage to honor the twenty six new stars in heaven,” announced Kane at the beginning of the show.

The curtain displayed a large green symbol, now commonly recognized as support, which also is on display at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Each of the performers also wore the ribbon on their lapel.  There were many pictures on display as well, drawn by the children, to break up the black of the curtain.

Kane inspired some of his theater acquaintances, with whom he had grown out of touch, to respond to his Facebook invitation, including Frank Todisco, who resides in Oak Ridge, Tom Hallett, Debbie Nannery, and Margaret Witt, all from Newton, and Natasha Goldberg from Hamburg to join the program.  In turn, Witt, Todisco, and Kane’s children enthusiastically joined the production. Charity Dolan, from Lincoln Park, volunteered to accompany on piano, while her daughter also joined the performance.  

Kane relayed the experience of trying to explain to his three children what happened in Newtown, before they heard it on the news. 

“My wife and I decided we wanted them to hear about it from their mom and dad," he said. "We all sat down and told them, ‘something bad happened in Connecticut, but you are safe here.’"

Once Kane came up with his idea for the program, the children wanted to be included.  

Throughout the evening, the audience was reminded of how fragile life can be, how important it is to keep dreams alive, and how each person can bring light to the world. Through familiar songs and touching lyrics soulfully sung, the 12 member cast (six adults, six children) brought to life on the stage the love between mother and child, brothers and sisters, patriots and country. There were renditions from "Les Miserables," "Pete’s Dragon," "Jacques Briel is Alive and Living in Paris," and other shows.

Just before intermission, Kane told the audience, “When I was a boy, if I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say, 'Look for the helpers.'” 

He then invited all community helpers present, including police, fire fighters, EMT’s, nurses, and teachers onto the stage to join in singing “God Bless the USA” with the cast.  Several of the audience responded. Jeannie Van Auken, a nurse at Saint Clare’s in Dover and Denville, was one. 

“I know a few of the cast, plus I wanted to help out,” she said.

Kane expressed much gratitude to Michael Gillespie, one of the principals of Cornerstone Playhouse.  

"He [Kane] put on Facebook, anyone who has anything to offer, please contact him. I asked if he had a venue, then offered the theater,” said Gillespie.

Kane said that Cornerstone Playhouse treasurer Bob Hollowach was one of the main supporters as well.

The money raised through the $15 each donation will be sent to the United Way of Western Connecticut, which has promised not to use any funds for administrative costs. The money will help the town rebuild, through support services, to refurbish the school from the damage done, and to help with special costs that might be incurred by families. According to Kane, the fund has nearly $6 million to date.

The evening closed with a quote from Albert Schweitzer, followed by the song “You are the Light of the World,” from Godspell. 

Kane recited, “At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by the spark of another person. Each of us has cause to think with great appreciation of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

 

Follow The Alternative Press for Sussex County News, as well as The Alternative Press of Sussex County's Facebook Page, for news, and other information.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Newton








Newton Police Officer Sworn in At Town Council Meeting

January 16, 2017

NEWTON, NJ—In front of his family, friends, the town council, and his fellow officers, Steven Van Nieuwland was sworn in as a member of the Newton Police Department during the council meeting on Monday.

His wife and two daughters held the Bible. Deputy Mayor Wayne Levante read the oath to Van Nieuwland, as he repeated the words loud for everyone in attendance to hear.

Once ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_9ffec5ae3c45d5263138_skylandslogo

Sat, January 21, 8:45 AM

Skylands Ice World, Stockholm

Learn to Play

Sports

Thu, January 26, 7:00 PM

Franklin Firehouse, Franklin

Stop the Chop on Sparta Mountain Town Hall Meeting

Education Health & Wellness

Fri, January 27, 7:00 PM

The Inn at Millrace Pond, Hope

A Night of Songwriters At The Inn

Arts & Entertainment

Sparta Police: House Fire on Maple Parkway

January 10, 2017

SPARTA, NJ - Two dogs appear to have been lost in a house fire on Maple Parkway on Tuesday.  Police report the homeowner of 64  Maple Parkway was initially unaware that the left side  of his home was on fire when Cpl. Frank Schomp  arrived around 3:25 p.m.

Schomp, responding to several  911 calls about the fire,  was able to convince the homeowner to leave, police ...

The Epidemic of Opiate Abuse

January 17, 2017

I do not agree with the Governor on much, but I am happy to hear that he has decided to work on drug issues in his final year of office. In our state and in my ex-rural region of Sussex County opioid abuse continues to be a major issue, but it has become now more of a national issue. According to The New York Times, “Opioid addiction is America’s 50-state epidemic.”  ...

Local Non Profit Schedules Events To Help People In Need

January 18, 2017

Nothing is Impossible, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit created by the senior partners of the McGivney and Kluger law firm. Their mission is to provide temporary financial assistance to individuals and families following a catastrophic event so that they may be able to maintain their independence in the community.  Feeling grateful for their successes, Chuck McGivney ...

Former Quarterdeck Inn Site Set To Transform Into 105 Room Hotel LBI

January 17, 2017

SHIP BOTTOM, NJ - The owner and developer of two distinctive properties in Stafford and LBI plans to erect a 105 room Victorian style hotel at the former site of the Quarter Deck Inn at the entrance to Long Beach Island in Ship Bottom.   The plans were approved a few years ago for the large hotel but the owner decided to moderately renovate the Quarterdeck building and develop it into the ...