Entertainers share talent to bring island show to Trudeau


Trudeau Center clients got to go on an island vacation Tuesday without ever having to leave the center in Apponaug. Stops along the way included Hawaii, Jamaica, Cape Verde and Ireland, thanks to the center’s first Islands Variety Show.

Producers Sally Gruber and her husband, Tim, have been running a variety show for Trudeau clients for several years. This year they picked an island theme.

“Professional performers donate their talents from all over the state and beyond to perform for a special population,” she said. “It has been a dream to have a show where different islands are represented and show their skills and talent.”

Performers continue to come back year after year for the show. They do it at no pay.

All of the acts were showcased at the center’s Larkin Recreation Building with the open floor being used for a stage. Performers danced, sang, played instruments, and performed martial arts and magic tricks.

Matt Roberts, “Master of Ceremonies,” was the host, as he introduced each of the acts, engaged the crowd, and even performed.

Roberts has been a show regular since 2009. He is a professional magician who was asked by Gruber after a performance he put on for the Trudeau Memorial Center to come back for the variety show.

Roberts said, “The best part is the variety of entertainment that this audience may not get the chance to see otherwise.”

For his island magic trick, Nina Dressel and Ralph Fasano joined him from the audience. They were each handed a bag. Roberts held a bag of apples and oranges with one extra orange and placed the fruit into their bags in pairs. He let another audience member pick who of the two volunteers should get the extra orange. The audience member chose Nina and placed it in her bag. Then he took the fruits out of their bags in pairs again and the extra orange was in Ralph’s bag. Ralph laughed when he saw the extra orange in his bag and was in disbelief. The audience gave a loud round of applause and the volunteers were each smiling and happy to be picked.

Candida Rose, from New Bedford, performed at the variety show for the third time. She sang traditional Cape Verdean melodies.

Rose said, “I love the energy. I see their faces and I can tell they enjoy it.”

Sensei Jay Brousseau and his students of Sho Dan Karate of West Warwick on Main Street gave a demonstration of martial arts. He said he’s been performing at this variety show for four years because his students love performing and it’s to support a great cause.

Flutists Karen Marks and Carolyn Conti from the R.I. Philharmonic School also performed “Foggy Dew,” a song from the Emerald Isle, and “Rondo Tobago,” a song from the Caribbean.

Other performances were: Polynesian Fusion dancers Nicole Camara and Danielle Peloquin; violinist Alexandra Nichols and guitarist Nathaniel Nichols performing music from the Greek Isles; the Damhsa Irish Dance Studio tap dancing; Jay Brunelle from J. B. Entertainment playing the guitar while on stilts; guitarist Gino Cicchetti and vocalist Robin Norton performing “Rolling in the Deep”; steel guitarist Phillip Abbatomarco performing a Hawaiian song; and Holly and the Sacred Flame dancing.


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