(MANASQUAN, NJ) -- Vocalist Chris Pinnella returns to Manasquan on Saturday, December 3rd with his annual fundraiser for Manasquan High School. Chris and his 8-Piece Band will perform in the High School's Theatre and present an evening of holiday hits and Christmas classics at 8:00pm.
It's unfortunately a tale as old as time: the arts, misunderstood and underfunded. Chris Pinnella has a plan to change that. The Manasquan High School alumni and former Trans-Siberian Orchestra lead vocalist has teamed up with the school's alumni foundation to present a one night only fundraising concert with a mission to restore and upgrade the school's ailing theatre. "The theatre is in desperate need of new seats, an updated lighting system, sound system, wireless system, soft goods (i.e. curtains, legs, etc.) and acoustical tuning," says Pinnella.
The concert started back in 2017 with Pinnella and former choir, drama, director Lee Weisert as a way to raise funds to support the cost of their spring musical, which typically has upward costs of $15-20k. "The behind the scenes costs of putting on a show are quite large, the licensing rights alone are usually around $4000-6000. Then there's a lighting designer, sound engineer, set construction, ticketing fees, costume rentals, make-up, prop purchases, backdrop rentals, live orchestra musician fees...there's probably things I'm forgetting as well," Pinnella says.
Last year Pinnella teamed up with the Manasquan High School Alumni Foundation with a new goal of rehabbing the theatre and financially supporting arts specific funding at the school throughout the year. Between private donations and the concert ticket sales with a VIP pre show cocktail reception the team was able to raise just over $100,000 to put back into the theatre. With that, a new state of the art sound system was installed this past November and new seats are scheduled to be installed over the summer of 2023. A brand new Yamaha Electric Piano was also gifted to the chorus from the Alumni Foundation. The installation of an all new wireless microphone system and body mics was also gifted by the Liv Morro Foundation and is being installed by another Manasquan alumni Chris McKevitt who is currently sound engineer for Saturday Night Live. This year's funds will hopefully be enough to support the installation of an all new LED lighting system and board as well as acoustical tuning for the theatre.
Pinnella with some of the chorus students around the newly purchased piano
The event for this year will feature an enhanced cocktail reception with open bar, passed hors d'oeuvres and live music by the Joe Accisano Trio beginning at 6:00pm in the school's newly renovated cafeteria, which will be decked out for the holiday season. Then at 8:00pm Pinnella and his 8-Piece Band will take the stage playing through a parade of Holiday Hits & Christmas Classics! Special collaborative performances with the Manasquan High School Chorus and MHS Band are on tap for the evening as well with 100% of the ticket sales going directly back into supporting the theatre upgrade project at MHS.
"The hope is to give the students a competitive edge (with the new equipment) whether going on to college or straight to work on the technical side of the entertainment industry", says Pinnella.
CHRISTMAS IN MANASQUAN: tickets are on sale now by calling the box office at (732) 974-8990 or by going online to www.showtix4u.com/events/mhsarts. VIP Tickets ($100.00) include access to the reception and include admission to the show. Regular Concert Only Tickets arte $40.00.
Expect to hear staples, 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town', 'Silver Bells',' Merry Christmas Baby', 'Christmastime Is Here' and 'Noel' to classic tunes, 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas', 'The Christmas Song', and 'White Christmas' to Pinnella's legendary take on Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' and so much more!
All proceeds will go towards the Jack Nicholson Theatre Upgrade Project which will provide necessary upgrades to the theatre with new seats, audio system, lighting system, staging, and overall renovations.
Manasquan High School is located at 167 Broad Street in Manasquan, New Jersey.