BCR Heralds in the Holidays with their Annual Talent Showcase

By On November 25, 2014

BCR Tone Chime Choir, produced by Sylvia Nielsen-Ioka, performs "Bells" during the BCR "a place to grow" Holiday Program. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

BCR Tone Chime Choir, produced by Sylvia Nielsen-Ioka, performs “Bells” during the BCR “a place to grow” Holiday Program. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Clients of BCR “a place to grow” heralded the holidays with their annual talent showcase on Wednesday night at St. Francis Xavier Holy Cross Hall.

The center, at 230 E. Amherst St., provides day and extended day activity programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities. They receive instruction in basic academic skills, meal planning along with marketing and cooking, arts and crafts, physical fitness and other life skills that help them to reach their potential, said Executive Director Julie Larsen.

This annual Holiday Program gives the clients a chance to get up and show what they’ve got — they sing, they dance and absolutely love being on stage.

“They adore the applause and the families get such joy out of watching them,” Larsen said.

It is also an opportunity to raise funds. Guests have the chance to participate in a raffle, boutique and bake sale. There is also a silent auction, which is overseen by the Foothill Civitan Club led by President Shirley Witt.

“The proceeds go to enrich the quality of our programs — transportation, field trips, classroom supplies — all sorts of things that make sure we are completing our mission to provide the best programs and assist them in reaching their potential, so they can be citizens not only of their family but also their schools, programs and community,” Larsen said.

Clients learn how to volunteer in the community and just recently competed in bowling and tennis in the Special Olympics.

The center has been producing the Holiday Program for at least 30 years. Clients start rehearsing for the Holiday Program in early October.

“We think the clients receive a sense of empowerment being on stage and being able to be in front of a crowd, which is a huge accomplishment for them,” Larsen said. “We have a client who is watching this year, who is not so comfortable coming up on stage. We had another client who came to watch for four years and now she’s up there dancing and having a great time.”

Mark Nakamura, left, and Ernie Pistacchio, at the microphones, lead clients in "O Holy Night" during the Holiday Program presented by BCR "a place to grow". (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Mark Nakamura, left, and Ernie Pistacchio, at the microphones, lead clients in “O Holy Night” during the Holiday Program presented by BCR “a place to grow”. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

The first act titled “Holiday Blast from the Past” was produced by Karen Delzell and featured clients in the Adult Day Activity Program. The Tone Chime Choir kicked off the act followed by musical selections from the past.

A highlight was the Beach Boys’ tune “Little Saint Nick”. Two of the clients displayed full-size surf boards fashioned out of cardboard and decorated for the holidays. The finale “O Holy Night” was led by clients Ernie Pistacchio and Mark Nakamura with everyone singing along.

The second act found clients in the adult Extended Day Program using a variety of songs to illustrate the title of the segment “Brave”. It was produced by Maria Di Liberto.

A highlight was the song “Lean On Me” featuring clients Franklin Cantero, Jesus Flores, Tony Jackson, Martin Magana, Sarkis Ovakimyan, Michael Perez and Dennis Poulson.

All the cast came together for the finale song Josh Groban’s “Brave”.