No magic, no hip hop dancing and the juggler and poet both canceled at the last minute, but the third, so-far annual, Ayyám-i-Há Variety Show still drew rave reviews from the audience. The program was held on Sunday, February 23 at the Willamalane Adult Activity Center in Springfield.
Brenda Sawyer, who has organized the event each year, once again demonstrated why thrift stores have welcome signs with her name on them. From tutus to taps, red wigs to butterfly wings, she had a costume change for every act on the bill. She also epitomized the “variety” in variety show by being one half of several duos who sang, danced or played guitar during the show.
A number of talented musicians performed a variety of musical styles throughout the program:
Dr. Don Addison played piano music composed for a variety of religious traditions, while the audience guessed which religion was being featured
Bill Harris, dressed as stevedore Joe from the musical Showboat, sang “Old Man River”
Kelly Farmer was Brenda’s partner in singing a prayer
Suzanne Mann-Heintz sang a well-known Bahá’í children’s song and another song she composed herself
Shanalea, Moya and Ezahn played percussion instruments and saxophone
Dawn Altree sang an older pop standard
Pani Soltani sang a Persian song and was called back for an encore
Kurt Star sang a rap tune he had composed and accompanied himself with beatbox
Eugene and Suzanne Otis sang two smooth jazz compositions of their own creation; each took a turn as piano accompanist
One musical performance didn’t include vocals and one vocal performance had no music:
Hazel Jones shared the stage with Brenda to trip the light fantastic, clogging style
Marcia Veach told a story from her comedy writing class