Sunday Nite Live! returns to Cottonwood on Sunday, March 1, with its first benefit event of 2009.
The kickoff production is staged on behalf of Y.E.S. the Arc. In September and October of last year, Sunday Nite Live! hosted fund-raisers for The Old Town Mission and House of Ruth. The March 1 show for The Arc builds on the theme of Classic Rock, with 90 minutes of jam packed classic rock 'n' roll from the 1950s, '60s and '70s.
From Janis Joplin to Aretha Franklin, from Neil Diamond to Lynyrd Skynyrd and everything in between, music will rock the house at American Heritage Academy, where the event takes place.
With the addition of a dance floor to this year's events, the audience will have the option to sit back and enjoy the music or dance the night away. Talent from across the Verde Valley will take part in this festival of live bands and solo artists. All ages are welcome as Sunday Nite Live! continues its commitment to family friendly, family fun live entertainment that benefits our community.
Behind the music lies the real purpose for Sunday Nite Live! Every performance benefits a local non-profit organization. As the economy continues to challenge the well-being of individuals and communities, nonprofit organizations strain under the weight of reduced funding while having to provide the same indispensable services. The Garden Community Church initiated Sunday Nite Live! as a fund-raising vehicle. Although there is absolutely no charge for admission to Sunday Nite Live!, there will be an opportunity for people to make a donation (if they choose to do so) during the event. Every dollar is donated to the nonprofit in focus.
Y.E.S. The Arc began in 1974 as a school for mentally disabled children. It expanded into serving adults with developmental disabilities in 1975. It was founded on the belief that all people are capable of growth and learning. The Arc's goal is to provide training and opportunities that will maximize growth towards the greatest independence possible for each individual. The Arc offers programs and services that support and enhance the client's independence, self-esteem, mutual respect, value and dignity. The Arc organization is nationwide, but Cottonwood has the distinct privilege of being the home of the only Arc in the nation with a highly developed creative arts program focusing on music, theatre and dance in addition to other programs and services.
Returning to the stage as emcees will be morning show hosts, Steve White and Dave Schreiber, from Radio Shine (90.9FM). Radio Shine is a strong supporter of the Sunday Nite Live! concept of "community supporting the community."
Dave will join The Garden's in-house band, Soteria, to add his exceptional guitar skills to the group. As a former professional guitarist, Dave spent four years in Branson, Mo., playing with numerous well-known artists. During his career he opened for such groups as Three Dog Night, Guess Who and Tim McGraw and toured with Doug Kershaw, Johnny Lee and Rex Allen Jr.
Also performing on stage that evening will be professional vocalists Eve Moffit and Dev Ross. Eve and Dev both have an impressive list of credits as performing artists. They will be singing songs by the likes of Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin, testifying to their vocal abilities.
The highlight of the evening will be the performance by Y.E.S. The Arc's own live rock 'n' roll blues band. Penny Vigil, founder and executive director of The Arc in Cottonwood, had long desired for The Arc to build a band using talent from its own clientele. Professional musician and composer Sunny Heartley joined The Arc as music director early in 2008. By the end of the year, the band was performing publicly, making its debut at the Hilton Hotel in December.
Gifted poet Donald McCullogh, also an Arc client, will have a selection of his poetry read during the evening.
Penny has created an environment for clients at The Arc that builds on "Yes, you can do what you want to do." The Arc has dispelled the myths surrounding people with developmental disabilities. It has provided a vehicle to eradicate prejudices and demonstrate all they have to offer this community with their gifts, talents and love.
Admission to Sunday Nite Live! is free. In addition to the entertainment, free hot dogs and drinks will be served beginning at 5:15 p.m. Showtime is 6 p.m. Sunday Nite Live! is presented at American Heritage Academy, 2030 E. Cherry St. in Cottonwood. For further information, call (928) 202-1397 or 649-2289.