Local youth to perform alongside Broadway professionals at Niswonger Performing Arts Center - Ticket sales to benefit Niswonger Children’s Hospital


Local Youth perform with Broadway Stars

            JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Sixteen local youth are preparing for an evening of “sensational” entertainment to benefit Niswonger Children’s Hospital this month, along with four special guests straight from the Broadway stage. The Mountain States Foundation and Consumer Credit Union will host “{One} Singular Sensational Evening” on Saturday, March 17 at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. All proceeds from the event will benefit Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

            “This is going to be a truly exciting and memorable evening, not only because of the Broadway stars that will be performing, but because of the singularly sensational kids that were chosen from across the region to participate,” said Cookie McKinney, manager of children’s initiatives for Mountain States Foundation.

            The Foundation held a series of auditions earlier this year to recruit young performers from across the 29-county region served by Niswonger Children’s Hospital. Five featured performers and 11 ensemble cast members were chosen from a wide geographic area. All of the finalists received a special tour of Niswonger Children’s Hospital so they could see what their fundraising efforts would support.

            “I wanted to perform in this event so that I could help children at the hospital,” said 9-year-old Virginia Pillion of Abingdon, Va., the youngest performer in the production. “My brother has hemophilia, and is a patient there. He has been treated very well at Niswonger Children’s Hospital. I want to help other children so that they can get the treatment they need to be healthy.”

            “This is not only gaining experience for me vocally, but it’s also benefiting a great cause,” said Emily Bryant of Greeneville, the oldest performer in the production. “This is very close to my heart because I want to be a nurse in a children’s hospital. That’s what I’m going to school for next year.”

            Tickets are still available, and can be purchased from Niswonger Performing Arts Center by calling 423-638-1679. Adult tickets are $35, and students are $10. All proceeds go to Niswonger Children’s Hospital. Niswonger is the region’s only hospital dedicated solely to the care of children. The 69-bed hospital serves more than 200,000 children in a 29-county region and is home to one of only six St. Jude Affiliate Clinics in the nation. More than 20 pediatric subspecialties are offered there, including pediatric emergency medicine, pediatric cardiology, pediatric neurology, neonatology and pediatric surgery.

Local youth performers for {One} Singular Sensational Evening are: Lily Brock of Indian Trail Middle School, Emily Bryant of Greeneville High School, Emily Nagy of Science Hill High School, Kevin O’Bryan of Bristol Tennessee High School and Virginia Pillion of Abingdon Elementary School. The Youth ensemble includes Ariane Belcher of Tri-Cities Christian School, Grace Belt of Science Hill High School, Cassie Brooks of University High School, Wyatt Farr from home school, Alex Gibson of Virginia High School, Olivia Graham of Tusculum View Elementary School, Jack Hudson of University High School, Kayla Jenkins of Sullivan South High School, Laura Mixon of Dobyns-Bennett High School, Matthew Torbett of Mary Hughes Elementary, and Gareth Zahnke from home school.

The Broadway performers scheduled to lead “{One} Singular Sensational Evening” are Denise DiRenzo, who has performed in “Cats,” “A Chorus Line,” “Sophisticated Ladies,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Guys and Dolls;” David Elder, who has performed in “White Christmas,” “Curtains,” “42nd Street,” “Kiss Me Kate” and “Once Upon A Mattress;” Gary Mauer, who has performed in “The Phantom of the Opera” in the role of the Phantom, “Les Miserables,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Pirates of Penzance;”and Cary Miller, who has performed in “Saturday Night Fever,” “Little Women” and “Seussical.”

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