ShoeString Community Players

All the world is a stage…


Talent show reflections

By Ben Tiscareno

August 24, 2018

This July saw a great amount of activity come to St. Helens, inviting engagement from town residents and welcoming visitors from around the county.  Large events such as the Columbia County Fair & Rodeo, various sized activities presented in the city’s Recreation Program, and the one-night-only Our County’s Talent Show hosted by ShoeString Community Players.  The talent show took place on July 28th, wrapping up a very hot month in an air-conditioned auditorium, with the spotlight on veteran acts and first time performers alike.

After the show ended, some of the volunteers went to pick up the sandwich board signs which had been placed around St. Helens to advertise the event.  With the sun going down, this quiet time provided opportunity to appreciate the entertaining & enriching performances they had just witnessed.  The energizing laughter and stirring of emotions during the show reverberated in their hearts with a freshness of the experience.  While helping load up the signs, it was a great chance to let the memories simmer; combining time serving the community in this small way, with enjoying the highlights of the talent show crisp in their minds.

Those highlights of course include the unique performances of the night.  Each act taking the audience members on a different adventure, through a different emotional journey.  A special aspect of the show was the connections forged between stage and audience.  For instance as performers entered the spotlight, their excitement and nerves could be felt by attendees in Olmscheid Auditorium.  Most of us were there to cheer on the folks bravely taking stage, full of our own excitement & encouragement.  We could also observe their focus and feel their satisfaction at showing off their talent.  Woven into this connection was the diverse waves of emotions each act took the audience through.  The haunted longing of Stefani’s “On My Own” from Les Miserable; the giggles when Linda’s musical voice put words to a song of her own creation called “The I Am Just like Taylor Swift Blues” performed on the ukulele, and the deep respect when we learned she also taught herself the instrument; the pure pleasure when Jon opened the show with his singing & piano skills, putting grins on faces and getting heads bobbing in the audience.  Another highlight was Keith, the Master of Ceremonies and his endless wit, providing light-hearted transition between acts.  These were some of the fresh memories being enjoyed while running around town picking up the sign posters & boards.

Then there were the teen and child performers, displaying incredible courage on stage while pouring their hearts into the acts they had been practicing.  The pair of cousins in
Yo Factor danced their yo-yos to music with remarkable skill; the older cousin confident and humble, the younger of the two displaying finesse and getting his entire body moving into the act.  Or the smallest performer of the night, needing a foot stool to reach the microphone, and not letting that deter from pouring his heart into “Remember Me” from Disney-Pixar’s Coco.  One of the teenager acts performed a Patsy Cline cover of “Blue” that belonged on stage in Nashville – her beautiful voice resonating with such power, perfect pitch, a dash of that country sass, and a STRENGTH of presentation that filled every inch of the auditorium.  Just … wow! And who can forget the final act? A pair of T-Rex’s dancing to hip hop jams.  Many members of the audience were laughing so hard they struggled to catch their breath! When one of the dinosaur outfits began to misbehave and look narcoleptic, the young lady inside kept dancing, and it only enhanced the performance’s effect.  Proof in action that the show must go on!  Watching all of these youthful acts was a tangible example of how much courage we are capable of, a hint at the talents inside waiting to be unlocked, and a powerful reminder to step onto Life’s stage with all the fire in our hearts.

There was more talent brought forth in Our County’s Talent Show than the short list above.  It was an honor to have witnessed all the performances, and also a great value at just $5 a ticket!  As the evening was wrapping up beneath the setting sun, it felt right to enjoy the satisfaction of completing a successful night of local entertainment.  Not just appreciating this one night, but all the actions and careful attention which come before most productions:
– helping distribute promotional material,
– coordinating with other volunteers,
– efforts from multiple parties to recruit talent,
– reserving the space,
– all the planning and organizing ahead of time,
– and the work to put on the show front stage & back.
Investing time & energy into creating the experience of
Our County’s Talent Show was a genuine service to others.  Watching the show was a magnificent validation of that investment.  It is worth celebrating how it all paid off that late July night, when each act lit up the stage!  It is a great reward to witness the performers shine, and to feel their glow afterwards as they greet guests in the lobby.

It was in this heart space of feeling good that the volunteers for ShoeString Community Players went their separate ways after the show.  Some went out to dinner, others to put away equipment, and some to pick up the sandwich boards around town.  SSCP provides many such opportunities to serve our community through art & theater, and through supportive actions along the way.  As the sun dropped over the horizon, the sky began darkening quickly while we unloaded the sandwich boards at their destination.
Finishing this small, final task brought the sensation of finishing a successful production.  Which in turn capped off a successful month for our little town.  The auditorium had been packed up, performers gone home, signs taken down and the streets were quieting.  With another cycle of theater activity coming to a close, most volunteers were taking the time to recharge.  A very small handful were already dreaming of the next adventures that ShoeString Community Players will be creating.  Around the corner comes October, the Halloween season, and the Spirit of Halloweentown celebration for which St. Helens has grown famous.

Our Thanks to all the helpers and performers who made the 2018 Talent Show a success!
What opportunities to perform or build come next, waiting for SSCP members & volunteers?
Are you ready to enjoy the laughter and spooks appearing in town this October?
Are you ready to create some, with a group that specializes in making memories?

Not all performance talent takes place on stage – some waits down dark corridors, or haunts you in public.  Will you step into a role this October, and literally step up to create memories for your neighbors and town visitors alike?

Join ShoeString Community Players.  Watch our media pages.
And get ready to BE one of the attractions that draws folks from around the nation, as they come to experience St. Helens – the Town that Halloween Made.

Thank you Columbia county

By Brian Vaerewyck

August 1, 2018

ShoeString Community Players would like to thank to all the people that stepped up to volunteer for the ‘Our County’s Talent Show’.  A huge thank you to all the new members that showcased their talent.   We will be having more talents shows in the future and everyone had fun!  Special thanks to Shannon Vaerewyck, Alyson Vaerewyck, Jeff Nelson, Crystal Nelson, Theron Nelson, Keston Nelson, Colleen Ohler, Gretchen Witt, Ben Tescareno, Kathleen Jenkins, Jimmy Gerdes, Vera (Ghost sighting verified), Mattea Misumi, Jon Scott Bradfield, Linda Paul, Anastasia Weber, Elija Holmes, Sean Aleman, Jakob Nelson, Elliot Vaerewyck, Stefani Weber and Bethany Coca.

Thank you to our sponsors: Emmert Motors, Dockside, Comcast, Columbia River PUD, Sunshine Pizza, Ace Hardware, Richardson’s Furniture,  St. Helens Physical Therapy, Advantage Screen Printing, Mark J. Lang Attorney at Law, Hudson Garbage Service, Gamepath Arcade,  Sunset Auto Parts, Rotary Club of Columbia County, SHEDCO, Fiber and Stiches, Bertucci’s Chocolates, St. Helens Computer Center, Market Fresh, Les Schwab, D.R. Garrison CPA PC, Bella Maison, Don’s Rental & The Party Peddler,  St. Helens Liquor Store, Columbia Funeral Home & Memorial Gardens, South County Chamber of Commerce, Tactical Ordnance & Ammunition, Oregon Trail Lanes,  Semlings Construction Inc, Bobbie’s Cut +, Kozy Korner, St. Helens Credit Union, Vonnie’s Dog House, 2Cs Vender Mall,  Pacific Athletic Club, and Nob Hill Riverview Bed and Breakfast.  We have a great community because of you.

I want to reach out to our community’s past SSCP directors and volunteers.  Please reach out to me personally at to discuss ideas for future productions and make them happen.  We have a community that would love to see you again on the stage and behind the scenes.  I am always asked “what ever happened to so and so?” at all the shows with out you.  Sadly we have lost several members to cancer and old age.  We are also moving our annual membership meeting to September to help accommodate our brand new members , watch for details and  please attend.  We will be modernizing our constitution to bring it into the twentieth century for notification and messaging.  There will also be new membership perks.  We also have board positions open to be filled for the new election.

In the upcoming months you are going to see ShoeString Community Players putting effort into finding a permanent home/building for smaller shows and dinner theater.  We need your support and help.  If you have spare time we need to form a committee to move this forward and finally make it happen.  We need this to better support our community and our volunteers that give up so much of their time to entertain the community.

Lastly we are looking for members to join us for the October Events Committee and a large number of volunteers for when the City of St. Helens does the “Spirit of Halloweentown” celebration in October.   We have some really cool things planned and need you help to pull them off.

Brian Vaerewyck
ShoeString Community Players

© 2020 ShoeString Community Players

Theme by Anders Norén