Community invited to Christmas Jubilee
Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.
Gainesville residents will be able to enjoy a "Cirque du Soleil" experience at the first-ever Christmas Jubilee Jam to collect toys for children in the Guardian ad Litem program.
* What: The Christmas Jubilee Jam, with singers, musicians and Santa and Mrs. Claus.
* When: 7-9 p.m. Dec. 7.
* Where: Trinity United Methodist Church, 4000 NW 53rd Ave.
* Cost: Two new unwrapped toys or gifts for toddlers to age 18.
* Information: Call 352-283-9316 or visit www.christmasjubileejam.com.
It will be held from 7-9 p.m. Dec. 7 at Trinity United Methodist Church at 4000 NW 53rd Ave. The price of admission will be two new unwrapped toys or gifts for children from toddlers to age 18 who are in the Guardian ad Litem program, which is an advocacy agency for documented abused and neglected children.
The first 100 people to RSVP at www.christmasjubileejam.com will receive VIP seating and will be allowed to take their seats 30 minutes before show time.
"VIP seating means we will allow them to sit wherever they want to," said Lenard Perry, organizer of the event and a Gainesville trumpeter.
Perry said the event will feature a "Cirque du Soleil"-like format. Cirque du Soleil uses audacity, creativity, imagination and people during its circus presentations throughout the world.
"We will have different things going on simultaneously and we will have things transition from one performer or performance to the next without losing a lot of time in between acts," Perry said.
Perry said The Phabulous Phlegmtones, a Gainesville barbershop quartet that sings a capella, will be caroling outside the church as people arrive. He also said Heidi Schwiebert of Williston will be playing her acoustic guitar as people enter the church, while his wife, Delores Perry, will be parading around as a Christmas tree with an outfit that will include battery operated lights.
He said a northeast Gainesville couple, Danny Grant Sr. and Ora Grant, will dress up as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
Perry said the event will feature performances by Gainesville entertainers, including The Blacklash Horns, whose members are saxophonist Charles "Charlie Blade" Steadham, trumpeter Schelvin Robinson and trombonist Brian Stevens; musician Joy Banks; Scherwin Henry, a drummer and former Gainesville city commissioner; Michelle Lamb, a keyboardist and singer; Leonard "Leon" Marshall, a soloist with a powerful and soulful voice; L'Tanya Van Hamersveld, a multi-talented singer and dancer; recording artist Ken Warren, and a host of others.
Laura Northcutt, human resource and budget liaison with Guardian ad Litem, said the program is glad to be the beneficiary of the toys that will be collected at the event.
"The program is going to be wonderful," Northcutt said. "We are excited about receiving the toys and I know our kids will be, too."
Northcutt said more than 450 children are in program in Alachua County and there are many more in the other counties of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, which serves Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties.
Perry said the idea for the event came to him while he was eating lunch one day during the summer. He initially wanted to have a fundraiser to benefit a non-profit organization, but he decided to have a toy drive.
"Everybody I approached about it supported it and asked how could they help and they all readily came on board," Perry said.
Banks said it didn't take her long to agree to participate in the event because she loves Christmas music. "I really, really love Christmas music," Banks said. "There is something special about this time of the year."
She also said she is excited about being a part of the event because Perry has created something very unique. "I have not seen anything like this, not only in the black community, but in any other community," Banks said.
Perry is encouraging the community to visit the website at www. christmasjubileejam.com to list their favorite Christmas songs and to share their favorite Christmas activities and traditions. He also said the audience will be asked to join in a sing-along of "The 12 Days of Christmas," which will have a different twist to it. He also said children will be asked to join in a sing-along of popular Christmas songs, such as "Jingle Bells," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman."
"It should be real neat," Perry said.