Academy to host benefit concert
Newberg performance director and owner of Chehalem Valley Dance Academy Kristen Stoller wants to do more than simply offer a holiday dance performance. Stoller reached out to the community, to businesses, local charities and Newberg High School so they can be involved to celebrate not only the holidays but to give back to the community.
"We want to create a holiday tradition for our dancers and to use the money and focus to give back to the community," she said. "They can use their talents to give back and highlight local charities and then to create a community tradition as well that is affordable and local that the kids can get dressed up and drive 5 to 10 minutes for a show that is magical and that is well produced with costumes. I feel that we have achieved that goal and it gets more exciting every year."
This is the academy's seventh year in performing the "Nutcracker" ballet to benefit local charities, the dancers and community. Funds raised from the performance will go to four local charities: Newberg FISH, Love INC, Faith in Action and A Family Place.
"We picked these charities because we feel that they support a broad selection of needs in the community and are run by local volunteers," Stoller said. "FISH is our local foodbank, Faith in Action is also called Community Connection (and is) through Providence and they serve elderly folks who are in their homes and families with children who have additional medical needs.
"Love INC is the local clearing house of services … They coordinate the churches' efforts in their service, so each church is not trying to serve all the needs in the community. They have a church that just collects coats and jackets, a church that collects hygiene items and so on. They have the ability to take an assessment and provide vouchers. …
"A Family Place is a relief nursery for children ages 0-5. (Most are) at-risk families in the county and (the agency is) able to provide them with therapeutic classroom as well as a clothing bank and a diaper bank. They also do parenting classes and at home visits."
The dance company's fundraising goal this year is $15,000.
"This is our seventh year and last year we raised probably about $13,000," Stoller said. "In our total history we've given $75, 000. We sold out our Sunday show the last couple of years. We want to sell out the other two on Saturdays. We're hoping to see around 1,500 people; that's our goal."
The production will feature a total of 95 dancers. "All from the ages of 2 through adult," Stoller said.
The academy found local business sponsors that help them to afford to purchase and re-use the costumes each year.
"We don't want it to be expensive for the dancers and when you think about all the costumes it can get really expensive," she said. "The way that we can afford the show is that we have business sponsorships; we use that money to put the show on. It covers props, costumes, marketing and promotion -- basically all the show expenses."
"I am so proud of this show because of parent volunteers. We have an awesome relationship with the Newberg High School drama department. They run our lights and our sound, and they help us build our sets and provide us with all of the stage stuff. The kids are fabulous and that is a really important part of our show."
The NHS drama department is involved with the production with the assistance of the drama director Mike McConaughey.
"It is fun for them (students) because it gets to be like a real working relationship, outside of their play experiences," said Stoller.
As for the music, Stoller added that "I would love to do a live orchestra, we have not done that yet. It's a goal with the high school program. I would love to collaborate. For now, we use the philharmonic Tchaikovsky."