By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — The curtain is coming down on a long-standing tradition.
For 33 years, Eleanor Leight, her dance troupe the Leight Fantastics and other amateurs put on the Snohomish Historical Society’s variety show every Mother’s Day. The 34th show next month will be their last.
The amount of work has grown over the years and the cost of the production has gone up. Also, dancers are getting older or pursuing other interests, said Leight, who has directed every show.
“It seems like the right time to end it,” said Leight, 90, a one-time Radio City Rockette who danced in Europe with the USO during World War II.
The group is a nonprofit and all money from the ticket sales goes to other local groups, such as the historical society and the Snohomish Senior Center, Leight said.
The group started as a place where amateur artists could perform, even though they didn’t want to pursue a career in entertainment. It has included dancing, singing and comedy, Leight said.
This year’s show, called “Memories,” is set from May 10 through May 13 at the Snohomish High School Performing Arts Center located at 1316 Fifth St., Snohomish. Tickets are $9.75 for adults and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com.
Other performers include The Dancin’ Katz, The Valley View Hoofers and The Showtime Combo.
Earlier this month, performers showed no sadness as they rehearsed at St. Michael’s Catholic Church.
“It’s sad to see it go, but there are good memories,” said 15-year-old Jordyn Shawger, a Snohomish High sophomore and one of the 32 dancers practicing that day.
The group is not disintegrating. They will still have rehearsals and plan other shows, but Mother’s Day is their biggest show of the year.
When news spread the show was being discontinued, former members returned to perform for one last time.
“I thought it would be fun to do it again and see everybody,” Lake Stevens resident Colleen Moynahan, 57, said.
Moynahan returned after leaving the group eight years ago. She has memories that include when the fog machine broke, flooding the stage with soapy water. There was also the time the dancers were blinded by a stage light at the beginning of the show.
“After that, we had a flashlight behind us,” she said.
Snohomish resident Nathan Flath, 32, joined the dance group in 1994.
Since then, he has danced, helped backstage and dressed up as a lion, a monster and other animals. He doesn’t know what he will dress as this year, he said.
His best memory was when he asked a fellow dancer for a date four years ago.
“In one of the rehearsals, I asked her out. The next thing I know, we got married,” he said.
Ragene Kimsey, of Granite Falls, joined the Leight Fantastics in 1986 when she saw a flier offering dance classes. She had just moved from Colorado and was trying to become more involved with the community.
Kimsey, 66, says she plans to remain with the group, even though they’re ending the big Mother’s Day show.
Still, she is happy she was a part of the tradition.
“It’s been one of the highlights of my life,” she said.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Snohomish Historical Society’s 34th annual variety show, “Memories,” is scheduled for 7 p.m., May 10, 11 and 12, with an additional 2 p.m. presentation set for May 12 and 13, at the Snohomish High School Performing Arts Center, 1316 Fifth St.
Tickets cost $7.25 for seniors and students, and $9.75 for adults.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 1-800-838-3006.
Tickets also can be purchased at the door.
The event features dancing from The Leight Fantastics and other group of dancers and singers.