So Cal Division hosts “Starry starry night”

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The Southern California Division hosted a Christmas show for more than 1,200 men, women and children from The Salvation Army’s homeless shelters, transitional living programs and rehabilitation centers recently at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles.

The show, called “Starry, Starry Night,” included comedy, dance and musical selections from artists who donated their time to The Salvation Army.

“The show provided inspirational entertainment for individuals who would never be able to afford a ticket to an event of this caliber,” said Lt. Col. Alfred Van Cleef, Southern California divisional commander.

The idea for this show dates back to the earliest days of the Army, when William Booth rented out theaters in London and filled them with those who had so little in order to provide entertainment with a message. In keeping with this tradition, “Starry, Starry Night” was conceived as a program that the public would pay to attend, but which was reserved only for those the Army serves.

Comedian and actor Tommy Davidson hosted the show, which included three inspirational musical groups: Spiritual Pieces, Nysa Shenay and The Millennium Choir, directed by Beppe Cantarelli, as well as Salsa Y Fuego, a salsa dance group.

Actress Keiko Agena from “The Gilmore Girls” read a Christmas story to the children. Matthew Margolis brought his dogs Pebbles and Uli to bring Christmas greetings. Paul Petersen, former child actor on “The Donna Reed Show” and founder of a group which advocates for the legal rights of child performers, spoke words of encouragement. The Army’s own La Tropa De Balonia Por Christo, an acting ministry group, shared the story of Christ’s birth. And Santa Claus made a special appearance, courtesy of Van Cleef.

All in attendance received a Christmas gift. Starbucks Coffee, Krispy Kreme and MEGA 92.3 gave their support and all of the show’s expenses were covered by donations that included contributions from Loeb & Loeb, LLP, Meserve, Mumper & Hughes, advisory board members, and other generous friends.

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