Dr. Sanford Wright climbs the staircase in Everett’s historic Hartley Mansion recently. This will be the 17th year for the Christmas Spectacular, an entertainment program spearheaded by Dr. Wright that provides a big boost to food banks and other nonprofits. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Dr. Sanford Wright climbs the staircase in Everett’s historic Hartley Mansion recently. This will be the 17th year for the Christmas Spectacular, an entertainment program spearheaded by Dr. Wright that provides a big boost to food banks and other nonprofits. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Everett’s spectacular Christmas show was surgeon’s brainchild

Dr. Sanford Wright, an arts patron, started the fundraising variety show in 2001, after 9/11.

This is one of a collection of stories about philanthropy in Snohomish County.

EVERETT — The “Christmas Spectacular” is an old-fashioned holiday show, with the Dickens characters Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, and carols sung by the Everett Chorale.

Patriotic moments are part of it too, including introductions of the commander of Everett High School’s Navy JROTC and a Marine veteran wounded in Iraq.

The song-and-dance program has something for everyone. A World War II scene showcases “White Christmas.” There’s the grace of a Pacific Ballroom Dance team, and the spin-on-their-head moves of the North City Rockers break dancing group.

This year’s “Christmas Spectacular,” produced and directed by Dr. Sanford Wright, is scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Everett Civic Auditorium. Admission is $20 and five cans of food, which will benefit local food banks and Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington.

Wright, a well-known Everett neurosurgeon, spearheaded the “Christmas Spectacular,” which was first performed at the Historic Everett Theatre in 2001 — just months after the 9/11 attacks.

In 2001, Wright was helped by the nonprofit Corporate Round Table in putting the show together. He said at the time that the show was a reaction to a Herald article he saw about shortages at local food banks. Wright has a long history of helping the arts and other community efforts.

Since 1983, Wright has owned the historic Hartley Mansion, which until several years ago housed the offices of his medical practice. Built in 1910, the historic Everett house at 2320 Rucker Ave. was originally owned by Roland Hartley. Co-owner of a mill on the city’s waterfront, along with his father-in-law David Clough, Hartley became Everett’s mayor, a state representative and eventually Washington’s 10th governor, serving 1925-1933.

Extensively restored by Wright, the mansion has hosted piano recitals and other music and cultural events. Wright has supported nonprofits through the creation of the Dorothy Jayne Foundation, named for his mother. Dorothy Jayne Wright was a longtime dance teacher, artist and supporter of the arts.

The first “Christmas Spectacular” production coincided with Wright’s tenure as president of the Everett Performing Arts Center Board. The production’s name is credited to Frank McCord, another member of that board and onetime Cascade Bank president and chairman.

At that first show in 2001, a flag on loan from the USS Nimitz was lowered behind performers during the last song. Through the years, the “Christmas Spectacular” has included many gestures of gratitude to U.S. military members for their service and sacrifice.

Scheduled to lead the Pledge of Allegiance this year is Marine veteran David Jordan, who was injured in Iraq in 2005 and later joined the U.S. Army Reserve. Show emcee Joe Marine, the former mayor of Mukilteo, is scheduled to introduce retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Richard Gile, who leads the Everett High School Seagull Company Navy JROTC.

Charles-Henri Avelange, a young composer of film scores working in Los Angeles, is also on the “Christmas Spectacular” bill. His composition, “Commandment of Valor,” was written to honor U.S. armed forces members killed in service to their country.

Lee Matthews, the longtime director and conductor of the Everett Chorale, will also be honored during the production, Wright said. Matthews is a retired Snohomish School District music teacher and choral director at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Everett. After nearly 25 years with the Everett Chorale, the group’s 2017-18 season will be Matthews’ last.

Other noted performers scheduled for the show include the EriAm Sisters, semifinalists on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent;” vocalists Victor Benedetti, Megan Chenovick and Carl Kelly; saxophonist Jack Klitzman, founder of the Seattle group Nearly Dan and musical director of the Seattle Theatre Group; Olga Foraponova Wright, a top American-style ballroom dance coach; and the Common Ground Choir, a gospel group directed by Dan Hegelund.

Also scheduled to be onstage are Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson; members of the Everett police and fire departments; and Barry McConnell, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington.

Wright describes the production as an event “framed by the American spirit” and “the opportunity to share food and the essentials of life over the holidays with those who are less fortunate.”

“It will be quite a show,” he said.

Oh, and Scrooge will thank the audience for donating food.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

‘Christmas Spectacular’

The “Christmas Spectacular,” presented by the Dorothy Jayne Foundation, is scheduled for 6-8:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Everett Civic Auditorium, 2415 Colby Ave. Produced and directed by Everett neurosurgeon Dr. Sanford Wright, the musical and dramatic program includes the Everett Chorale, national ballroom dance champions, semifinalists from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” break dancing, Everett High School jazz band members, special guests and more. Admission is $20 plus five cans of food. Proceeds will benefit local food banks and Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington.

Information: http://thechristmasspectacular.com/

Tickets available 5 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Everett Civic Auditorium or at: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3116058

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