by Karen Lunde for OLY ARTS
Each year for the past 11, members of the Olympia musical group Entertainment Explosion have put on a show to benefit homeless children in Thurston and Mason counties. This year, the show features a guest artist, The Brothers Four. The group’s musical career spans 50 years and includes sing-along American folk hits like “Try to Remember,” “Yellow Bird,” and “The Green Grass of Summer.”
Entertainment Explosion, a singing group made up of members age 50 and older, has performed at elder care facilities and other venues around the South Sound since 2006. Through their annual benefit concerts at The Washington Center, they’ve donated $276,000 to schools in Thurston and Mason county in support of homeless children. This year’s show will help that donation level surpass the $300,000 mark.
“These kids don’t have a home to go back to at the end of the school day,” said Scott Schoengarth, a member of Entertainment Explosion and producer and director of A Really Big Shoe. “Our donation provides money to help them get things like coats, clothing, and shoes.” Worn clothing, he said, could cause a child to be singled out or teased. New, clean clothing helps to restore their dignity. “It gets you emotional to think about it.”
The proceeds from each Really Big Shoe concert are divided equally among area schools and the schools use the funds as they see fit. “A couple years ago,” said Schoengarth, “Rochester went out and bought 72 pairs of shoes and had them on the shelf for the kids when they came in.”
This year, for the first time, members of Entertainment Explosion won’t appear on The Washington Center main stage. “These shows are a lot of work, and we have more [members] turning 80 than are turning 60,” said Schoengarth. “So we hired The Brothers Four and took a year off.” Instead, Entertainment Explosion will perform in the lobby before the headline act takes the stage. Another group, Ham and Cheese on Rye, will keep toes tapping with blues and folk music at intermission and at the end of the concert. “From the minute you walk in the door until you leave, you’ll be entertained,” said Schoengarth.
A Really Big Shoe 12: The Brothers Four Playing the Folk Music of America
The Washington Center for the Performing Arts
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia
2:00 p.m. Sunday, February 25
360-753-8586 | The Washington Center for the Performing Arts