The afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 12 was filled with holiday cheer and spectacle during the Nevada Silver Tappers’ 30th Annual Christmas Benefit Show. Despite a venue change to the Bob Ruud Community Center that reduced the maximum capacity for the event, the show raised $4,030 to support veteran causes and the local Nathan Adelson Hospice office, according to organizers.
Stephani Elliott, granddaughter of the founder of both the Nevada Silver Tappers and Ms. Senior Golden Years, B.J. Hetrick-Irwin, served as master of ceremonies.
Hetrick-Irwin’s son Steve Elliott and daughter Robin Butler then took to the microphone, standing in for the 96-year-old Hetrick-Irwin, who was unable to attend due to illness.
“Our mom is the reason this exists,” Butler told the crowd of approximately 170 attendees. “But she’s not feeling well tonight and we are all going to miss her. The wind is out of our sails a little bit so we are really going to need you to clap, laugh, enjoy and celebrate.”
“And you know, it is a benefit show,” Elliott added, noting that Hetrick-Irwin was watching from home and would be waiting to see what kind of generosity was given when the Christmas stockings were passed around for donations. “Please, give from the heart.”
The show itself kicked off with a rousing round of audience participation, with Kool & the Gang’s classic hit, “Celebration” blaring from speakers as the entertainers made their way down the aisles, encouraging everyone to stand, applaud, dance and shout with joy.
Ms. Senior Golden Years 2021 Marla Quercia followed with the lighting of the Christmas Tree and a touching rendition of the melody “Mary Did You Know” which she accompanied with sign language. Local youngsters Avery Sampson and Radley Smith, both of the Nevada State Cinderella Program, performed to “Snowman” and then it was time for a dance routine by the Nevada Silver Tappers, who selected the cheeky song “Ain’t Misbehavin’” as their first of the afternoon.
A variety of other entertainers graced the stage as well, including Danny Calechio, who crooned to “Blue Christmas,” Gina Emond and Michelle Caird, who gave life to “Don’t Tell Mama” and the California Golden Girls, who performed to “All the Wrinkled Ladies,” a humorous parody of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.”
The Nevada Silver Tappers returned to the stage for the “Can Can” and Bill Watson entertained with “The Christmas Song” before making way for Julie Morris and her cutesy version of “All I Want For Christmas.” The Silver Tappers then danced to “Boogie Woogie Santa” and Shelley Fisher lent her dulcet tones with a performance of “Run Run Rudolph.” Once more the stage was taken over by the Tappers, who brought back one of the group’s newest dance routines, Folies Bergere, and then it was time for a short intermission in which Santa and Mrs. Claus passed around the stockings to collect donations to support the three causes chosen to benefit from the event.
This year the Silver Tappers decided to take a portion of the funding earned at the show and use it to purchase Christmas wreaths that they will lay on the graves of veterans buried at the Chief Tecopa Cemetery. The other two-thirds of the funds raised will be split and donated to VETrans, which is a local bus service that provides transportation to area veterans, as well as Nathan Adelson Hospice, the only nonprofit hospice in Southern Nevada.
Once the stockings were stuffed with cash, the entertainment wrapped up with the final four acts. Kathleen O’Connor performed to “Winter Wonderland”, Mary McRory entertained with “Feliz Navidad” and Kim Lyle and Karen Potts offered their sweet voices to “White Christmas” before the event culminated in the traditional last act: “The Wooden Soldiers.”
“I met my goal,” an ecstatic Hetrick-Irwin told the Pahrump Valley Times after the event. “We raised $4,030. Isn’t that amazing? No one knew what goal I had set but I know my community, whether we have 100 people or 200 or whatever, I knew they would not let me down. They really dug into their hearts and it’s just awesome.”
Hetrick-Irwin said she was obviously very disappointed in having to forgo attending the Christmas benefit show this year but thankfully, with the use of technology, she didn’t have to miss it completely. Her family helped to set up a laptop to livestream the show and she was delighted to be able to at least watch as the entertainment ensued.
“The show was great, I was very happy with it. I think everyone seemed to enjoy it,” Hetrick-Irwin concluded. “I just cried my heart out at not being able to be there but this is show business, and the show must go on! My girls were dynamite and I knew they would be. Everything was just wonderful.”
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at email@example.com.