By REBECCA WEBSTER
Recorder News Staff
It was audition night for the Amsterdam Rotary Club Variety Show Wednesday, and community members gathered in the St. Mary's Healthcare Carondelet Pavilion to share their musical talents.
This is the 13th year that the show is happening in Amsterdam, always taking place at Amsterdam High School's Bert DeRose Theater, said St. Mary's Healthcare president and Rotary Club member Vic Giulianelli.
The show, which generally happens every other year, is a large Rotary Club Fundraiser with all the proceeds going to different beneficiaries each year.
This year's beneficiaries are the Horace J. Inman Senior Center and the Rotary Youth Scholarship Fund.
Giulianelli works alongside musical community members Bill Nelson, Stephanie Boice, and Al Turo to put on the production.
"It's organic," he said of the show. "We start from the ground up and that's what we wanted ... and it changes every year."
Nelson, who joined the team in 2000 along with Boice, said that the first show was an enormous undertaking, but it was a great experience.
"We just had this idea that it was supposed to be all about Carpe Diem and 'seize the day' and we wanted to get the little kids involved and we wanted to really stress the history of our community and the future of our community," he said.
The dress rehearsal for the three-act extravaganza of a show took hours, he said laughing, but eventually they cut back and the show turned out great.
Giulianelli said now they've gotten a hold on what needs to be done to build the foundation for a wonderful show.
"The first couple years we were just kind of winging it, but after a while we started thinking about (themes)," he said.
The Grammies, Cinematic, and Seize the Day, were just some of the themes from the years, he added.
This year's theme is Hot Rockin' Country.
The acts will sing and play country songs, make the audience laugh with comedy and skits, and there will even be a square dancing number.
"You've got a lot of people who have come back," Boice said. "It's nice to have that community. Everybody's been in it, working together."
One of those variety show veterans, who remembers bits of his first show, was the first to share his talent and thoughts on Wednesday.
Richard China was just in fifth grade when he took part in the variety show for the Rotary Club for the first time, the year of the "Seize the Day" show.
This year, at 23 years old, China was still as excited to participate.
"I love to perform. I love doing things for this community since I've grown up here all my life, I've lived here all my life," he said. "I've tried to be as active as I can within the music community just to give back a little bit."
But the auditions on Wednesday brought new folks from outside of town as well.
Brittani Kruzinski, part of a four-person band called Lucid from Rotterdam, said they found out about the show through their drummer.
"Even though it turned out to be different than what we thought, we really enjoyed it," she said.
The difference was in the music.
Lucid, an alternative rock band, jumped into the variety show during the year that it's a country theme, but, Kruzinski said, they are still excited to take part.
"We were able to just go in there and do our thing," she said. "It was fun."
Ready to go with their country sound were two women from the local band Hillfolk.
Mariaville resident Debra Fish belted out the tune "Rockie Top" with the most country of accents as band member and Guilderland resident Mary Ann Kosek accompanied her on acoustic guitar.
Fish said that a friend asked her to take part in the variety show.
"It's awesome," she said. "It's just exciting to see how many people come out just because of the aspect of being country because ... country music kind of brings people unified together."
Nelson said shows like this portray the color and life of the community.
"There's an undercurrent to this community that's just thriving, that beats, it's got a pulse to it," Nelson said. "It's fun to live here because you just know it's there. I mean you don't see it all the time. It's not always in your face, but underneath it all, it's there."
The Rotary Club Variety Show will take place on March 15 and 16 at Amsterdam High School.