Most Viewed Stories
City of Hope delivers
The Frank “Buck” Shaffer auditorium was filled to capacity with more than 250 performers plus a jam-packed audience for the 51st annual City of Hope Spectacular; an old-fashioned vaudeville talent show.
Jerry Hall and Trick Shot opened the event with Jerry explaining he couldn’t play guitar due to a run-in with a cow. The group played favorites such as “Back in the Saddle Again” and “Baby Turn the Lights Down Low,” after which the audience clapped and sang along to “It Was Almost Jamaica” and “Happy Trails.”
“We’re having a girls night out,” said Donna Schmutz of Strathmore, who was in attendance with Barbara Smith of Porterville. The pair said they’ve attended the show for three to four years, while Frances DePaoli, also of Porterville, has been coming for the past 20.
“When you think of a town this size,” she said, “it has amazingly talent. But also, it is about what people can achieve. For many of these young adults this show can be the start of their careers, or the beginning of a new career.”
Jim Kusserow opened the show with the Fabulous Studio Band, and Dick Eckhoff welcomed master of ceremonies Eric Ball.
A resounding performance by Dazzling Dynamics Dance Studio of “Gangnam Style” with baton twirling nearly brought the house down with applause, after which Briley and Alyssa German sang “Go On and Take a Bow.”
There were numerous sensational baton twirling and dance performances, with gymnastics by the Porterville Twirlerettes with “Let’s Do a Kiki” and “Buenos Aires,” followed by performances by the Dazzling Dynamics, with a spectacular dance finale to “Let it Shine” by Deenie’s Dance Workshop.
Sensation Hip Hop and a solo hip-hop dance routine “Boom Boom Pow” by Skye Matthews were all riveting.
Smaller dance groups like the Rag Dolls, Dance Horizons and the Reed Flutes performed a mixture of ballet and tap dance, with solo performances of baton by Raylene Carabay-Huber and Cristian Perez to clapping and loud audience acclaim and appreciation.
A lovely and gentle ballet entitled “Home” was performed by ballet troupe Dreams in Motion, with a solo ballet performance by Kassidy Friend.
After intermission, Jim Kusserow and the Fabulous Studio Band opened the second half of the show with a tribute to jazz legend Dave Brubeck, and played “Take Five” a pioneering piece of cool jazz in 4/5 time.
Richard Boyd sang “Fall,” written by Josh Groban, while Matthew and Michael Brown sang an exuberant “Roll Over Beethoveen,” while playing the electric guitar and piano with a Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis performance style.
Elijah Colton sang “Titanium” to loud acclaim, a song he described as portraying how people, both those surrounding a patient and the patient themselves, need to be when forced to battle a disease such as cancer.
Solo vocalist Alyssa Moreno sang “It Will Rain,” with soloist Jeanette Keel singing a soulful “Misty Blue.” Kathryn McMasters sang a heartfelt “Wishing You Were Here Again” from Phantom of the Opera, with Bethany Shoemake singing “On My Own.”
A dramatic performance of Shakespeare’s Richard III, by Thayne Keele, was notable because the actual remains of King Richard III have been finally been found in England.
Featured guest of the evening, Justin Witt, sang Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Some Enchanted Evening,” from South Pacific to loud and resounding applause.
Signs of Hope combined an enthusiastic performance of signing with dance to the music of “Sweet Sound of Salvation,” and the audience loved it.
The Crack o’ Dawn Dancers did a humorous dance vignette to Chuck Berry’s “Lollipop Lollipop” and had the audience in hysterics.
Belleview School Performing Arts group performed a medley of Disney music with a variety of singing and dance, while the Rockford Jaguar Drum line had a resounding performance.
Irene Eckhoff, mother of Dick Eckhoff, said, “We’ve been coming for years,” as she sat her daughter-in-law, Kathy. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world. Every show, the performers put their whole hearts into it.”
Kayla Thomspon from Deenie’s Dance Workshop said, “Dancing Deenie’s has been so rewarding and it has taught me so much. I’ve met so many new friends and really enjoyed the performance.”
Frances DePaoli said, “Oh my gosh, it is amazing the talent we have. The Rockford Drum Line were marvelous! They are outstanding, we are all in agreement,” she said of her friends. “We also love Trick Shot and the Studio Band is fabulous. To think they’ve been to Carnegie Hall!”