If it seems like Jubilee! is happening a bit early this year, it is.
Traditionally, the annual youth talent show— put on by Homer Council on the Arts — is in April. But this year, the HCOA Board of Directors decided it was time for a few adjustments to the staple fundraiser for their summer arts scholarship program.
“Tic Toc, An Evening Based In Time,” won’t just be the same Jubilee! with a different date and a new name. Performances are based around the theme of time.
“Pretty much everything has a time period, right?” said Peggy Paver, Executive Director for HCOA.
Paver, who moved from Ashland, Oregon, nearly three years ago to take the job, brought 25 years of experience in the arts with her. And she is hoping that this year’s changes will reinvigorate the community’s interest in the annual performance.
Attendance to Jubilee! has dwindled in the past few years, and Paver says that may be in part because April is typically crazy busy for students and families. Moving the show to February, when there wasn’t as much going on, seemed like the right idea.
Good ticket sales translates into more funds available for arts scholarships. Last year, around half a dozen scholarships were distributed to local youth.
“We want to give away as much as we can,” said Paver.
To apply for the scholarship, students submit a written piece explaining the importance of the art to them, followed by an in-person interview with HCOA’s scholarship committee. A new requirement was added this year: applicants need to audition for Jubilee!.
“We feel it’s important for kids to have an investment in us, like we have an investment in them,” said Paver. She added that the committee thought the community deserved to see the progress of students who receive scholarships year after year.
Dancing. Singing. Piano. French Horn. Aerial silks. If auditions go well, this year’s show will include those and more. Performers are encouraged to dress in the time period of their piece, as well as choose performances based around the theme of time.
For the past 31 years, former HCOA board president, Diane Borgman, has directed the show. A retired elementary school principal, Borgman was passionate about youth and the arts. Last April was her final Jubilee!, so this year’s changes include new oversight for the performance.
Hannah Heimbuch and Kiirsten Styvar, an HCOA board member, are the new co-directors. Carrying the theme of teamwork into the performance, the directors decided that they would have youth emcee it as well.
Paver says they sort of stumbled on two kids who have really different ages — and personalities. Local senior Falcom Greear and grade-schooler, Jessi Adcox, will emcee the performance.
“Falcom is an amazing person,” said Paver, adding that he was one of the first young students she saw perform at Jubilee! three years ago.
“Falcom was up there and belted out this song that just blew me away,” she said
When Heimbuch and Styvar were thinking of emcees, Greear immediately came to mind.
Greear first performed in Jubilee! when he was in third grade. Now a senior, he has been part of the show almost every year since.
“I’m so happy I stuck with it,” he said. “Doing (Jubilee!) has been so much fun. I’m going to really miss it.”
Although he hasn’t yet selected a college, Greear is visiting several this month to see where he wants to pursue a career in musical performance.
Although he’s performed plenty on stage, Greear says that talking in front of people as an emcee is going to be a totally different experience for him. But with Adcox sharing the microphone, it might not be too serious.
“She’s just a hoot,” said co-director, Kiirsten Styvar. “You’re not sure what she’s going to say. She’s just this pint-sized, little bundle of charisma and energy.”
Styvar says that when they had Greear and Adcox meet to see how they worked together, she and Heimbuch laughed hysterically.
“The two of them are so much fun,” she said.
This performance will be Styvar’s first as a director, and she said she feels honored to be part of it — and to be working with Heimbuch, HCOA and the youth in Homer.
“We’re just blessed to have these great kids and families in our community,” she said.
Performances will include solo and group acts by kids of all ages, with their interpretations of time woven into the act.
“I’m hoping that everyone comes out to support these kids,” said Styvar. “They are amazing. You will leave feeling inspired and happy.”
“Tic Toc: An Evening Based In Time” is 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at the Mariner Theatre. Cost is $12 for HCOA members, $15 general and $5 for youth under 16 years old. Tickets are available at the Homer Bookstore and Homer Council on the Arts or at homerart.org.