Benefit Concert: Alumnis pay it forward

Familiar faces and terrific tunes will take over the Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 15, for “There’s No Place Like Home.”
Ten alumni from the past 10 years of Princeton High School musical theater are returning to town for a one-night-only gala fundraiser benefiting the Princeton Music Education Association.
PHS fall musical director Mark Potvin has long envisioned an event like this.
“We have such talented graduates who consider their experiences on stage in Princeton as major growing experiences in their lives. I knew many would want to give back if given the opportunity,” Potvin said
The opportunity presents itself this weekend as the final event of the Rum River Festival. Participating performers include:
n Charles Moe (Class of 2004), who played Albert Peterson in “Bye, Bye Birdie” and Nathan Detroit in “Guys and Dolls.”  Moe is a graduate of Luther College and has taught three years in Underwood, Iowa. He will assume duties as choir director for Hutchinson High School this fall.
n  Keith Hovis (Class of 2005), a veteran of various theatrical productions in Princeton and active playwright and actor in Twin Cities.  Hovis is the deputy communications director for the Minnesota Department of Education and moonlights as the front man for the indie band John Up Front.
n  Samantha (Olson) Grover (Class of 2006), who played Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” while at PHS. She holds degrees from the University of Minnesota, Duluth and Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.  Grover and her husband Joe, who is himself a PHS musical theater alumnus, have recently relocated back to Minneapolis.
n  Chelsea Fitzgerald, Ben Kampa, and Cody Logeland (Class of 2009), key players in the two most high-profile Princeton productions in the recent history.  All three held lead roles in 2007’s “My Fair Lady” (Eliza Doolittle, Alfred Doolittle, and Colonel Pickering, respectively) and then wowed audiences the next fall with Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” as Belle, the Beast, and Lumiere. Fitzgerald is a resident of Oklahoma City, Okla.; Kampa is a recent graduate of Luther College, and Logeland is an active performer throughout central Minnesota.
n  Aaron Moore and Bailey Kampa (Class of 2011), who played good and evil as Mr. Applegate and Meg Boyd in “Damn Yankees,” and teamed up to headline “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” last summer in Princeton Music Education Association’s first major production.
n  Eric Jaques and Kelly McClay (Class of 2012), remembered for taking on Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynold’s iconic characters in “Singin’ in the Rain.”
The Saturday program will feature beloved music from nearly every show mentioned thus far as well as a host of others.  Providing instrumental accompaniment for the solos and group numbers will be pianist Joe Dever, percussionist Erik Sherburne, and bassist Shawn Neary.
“Joe, Erik and Shawn have been our go-to guys for performances like these during my time in Princeton. Their faces should be as familiar as those of our alums,” Potvin said.
“It’s going to be a fantastic night because the musical skill, spirit of collaboration and mutual respect  among these musicians is unparalleled.  I can’t wait,” Potvin said.
Tickets for “There’s No Place Like Home” are general admission and available in advance at Marv’s True Value for $25. Tickets may also be purchased at the door for $30. Those wishing to purchase a ticket at the door will receive a $5 discount if wearing a Rum River Festival button.
All proceeds from this event go directly to support Princeton Music Education Association and the K-12 Princeton music program.

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