EVERETT — It’s a Christmas variety show, a tradition that’s 18 years in the making.
Dr. Sanford Wright’s “Christmas Spectacular” is set for Dec. 8 at the Everett Civic Auditorium. The 18th annual show will be filled with song-and-dance acts by renowned artists, local carolers, street performers and child prodigies.
Wright is the producer and director of the “Christmas Spectacular.” The well-known Everett neurosurgeon spearheaded the show in 2001 in response to food bank shortages in the aftermath of 9/11.
This year’s performances will share the message that “awareness of the past brings hope and freedom to the future.”
The benefit show continues to collect donations for area food banks. It also raises awareness for local causes. This year, the “Spectacular” highlights efforts to help critically ill women in Rwanda and children in Washington and Alaska via Make-A-Wish.
“It’s a show based on my personal belief that it’s important to celebrate helping others less fortunate than ourselves,” Wright said. “That’s what gives us the thrill, the excitement and the joy.”
He says that few productions in the area, if any, pack as much variety into one evening as the “Christmas Spectacular.”
Here’s a look at some of this year’s acts:
Billie Wildrick, a Snohomish High School alum with 5th Avenue stage credits, leads singers in a performance that includes hit songs from the 2017 movie “The Greatest Showman.”
The Dickens Carolers of Seattle will sing popular Christmas songs a capella while wearing Victorian-era costumes.
Italy’s Davide Fumagalli and Debora Macaluso, finalists in the International Dance Organization’s World Latin American Show Dance Championships in 2015, will perform choreography that reflects on freedom awareness and the Holocaust.
Young pianist Chiara Rogers also is on the bill. The 11-year-old from Mill Creek was a gold medalist in this year’s Seattle International Piano Festival’s virtuoso competition. She will play “Scriabin Etude No. 42, Opus 5”.
Children who have been helped through Make-A-Wish will also make stage appearances, including Rebekah Lovitt, who has muscular dystrophy. Now 20 and a jazz student at Cornish College of the Arts, Lovitt will sing “Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles.
Other notable performers include the Voices of America Community Choir led by Lee Mathews, the former conductor and artistic director of the Everett Chorale, and saxophonist Jack Klitzman, founder of the Seattle Steely Dan tribute band Nearly Dan and musical director of the Seattle Theatre Group.
There also will be performances by 15-year-old Russian singer Angelika Elange, Ghanaian drummer Yaw “Eugene” Amponsah, a Michael Jackson impersonator and tribute artist group from California known as the RemJ Experience, the Lake Stevens High School Choir and the North City Rockers.
Wright’s reminder for the audience, threading all of the acts together, no matter how different they are, is that “it’s more blessed to give than receive,” he said.
“It’s a heartfelt show.”
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Community choirs from Arlington, Marysville and Stanwood will perform Christmas choruses from Handel’s “Messiah” at 3 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center, 18821 Crown Ridge Blvd., Arlington. Youth choir performances will precede the main “Messiah” selections.
The concert is a longtime tradition in Arlington dating back to 1979. Directed by Lyle Forde, the former choir director at Arlington High School, the performance will feature a community choir and chamber orchestra with performers of all ages.
Tickets are $5 each or $15 per family. More at www.byrnesperformingarts.org.
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
If you go
What: “Christmas Spectacular”
Where: Everett Civic Auditorium, 2415 Colby Ave., Everett
When: 6 p.m. Dec. 8
Tickets: $20, plus five non-perishable food items