Tue07292014

Community

'Live!' and in Los Altos : Sixth annual variety show plays to sellout audience at Eagle Theater


Shelly Bowers/Special to the Town Crier
Event headliner and virtuoso pianist Justin Read, above, wows the audience with his rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

The sixth annual “Los Altos Live!” talent show, held April 26 in Los Altos High School’s Eagle Theater, raised nearly $7,000 for scholarships that enable students to attend Camp Diversity. Included in the total is a $2,000 donation from an anonymous contributor.

The show drew more than 100 performers and a sold-out audience of more than 400. Sponsored by the Los Altos Cultural Association and the Town Crier, the showcase featured a variety of acts, from singers to instrumentalists and dance teams.

Featured performers included groups from the Los Altos Stage Company, the Community School of Music and Arts, Peninsula Youth Theatre, Bullis Charter School, Marti’s Dance Studio and the San Juan School of Dance. Among the solo artists was pianist Justin Read, who impressed the audience with an elaborate, often manic version of “Amazing Grace.”

Cristy Dawson, assistant principal at Los Altos High, served as master of ceremonies, providing one of the entertainment highlights with her customary humorous ad-libbing between acts.

Dawson is retiring from her Los Altos High duties at the end of the school year, but she indicated that she still plans to serve as master of ceremonies at next year’s talent show.

Camp Diversity, formerly named Camp Everytown, is a four-day, overnight retreat at which students, faculty and staff from participating high schools learn to value one another by breaking down the barriers of race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and other sources of division.

The nonprofit program addresses divisive matters directly by creating an environment where students address their differences. The end result is often life-changing, as students with newfound perspectives take on leadership roles when they return to school, teaching other students what they’ve learned. All students at Los Altos High School are given the opportunity to attend Camp Diversity.

“We take students who often need financial support in order to attend,” Dawson said. “The last two years, we have had two camps a year. There are also a group of staff folks who support us by being counselors at Camp Diversity. “

Dawson sang the praises of the program.

“I know that this camp plays a large part in creating the wonderful school environment that is Los Altos High School,” she said.

“Los Altos Live!” was produced and directed by Abby Althoff, Linda Thompson and Jo Ann Buchanan.

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