WALLINGFORD — A youth performance group plans to showcase their favorite inspirational songs Friday during a fundraising concert benefiting Master’s Manna food pantry.
Students in the Junior Performance Academy, a Wallingford-based community group founded by retired teacher Karen Ripa, picked a wide range of songs to perform.
The theme of the show is “changing the world, one note at a time,” Ripa said Wednesday.
“There’s songs about friendship, there’s songs about struggle, there’s songs about courage,” she said.
Several selections are from musicals, she said, reflecting the fact many of the young performers were the leads in this year’s musical productions at their schools
“It started off as being a cabaret, but because we only have music we changed it to a concert,” Ripa said.
Friday’s performance is the group’s second show. Two years ago, the group performed “Godspell Jr.,” also a Master’s Manna fundraiser. The nonprofit provides food and other services in the Wallingford area.
Ripa hopes to raise at least $2,000, which is the amount “Godspell” brought in.
“I would love to try to reach or exceed that goal this year,” she said.
Ripa is one of three show directors, along with music directors Kristina Waldron and Katie Robison, who are both teachers in town.
Waldron is an elementary school info-tech teacher and Robison is an elementary school music teacher.
The student performers, about 20 in all, are from all over town, Ripa said, including Parker Farms Elementary School, Moran and Dag Hammarskjold middle schools and Lyman Hall and Sheehan high schools.
They’ll be performing solos, duets, and ensemble acts.
Sheehan rising senior Eliana Tolentino, 17, said that she’s stepping out of her comfort zone by performing a duet with her sister, Elaine Tolentino, 14. She also plays guitar, something she’s never done in front of an audience.
“I’m a little nervous, but I’m excited because I feel more comfortable with her,” she said.
Moran seventh-grader Sajag Timilsina, 13, joined the group two years ago. He said that he’s learned how to communicate with an audience.
“That’s the best part,” he said.
The show is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Sheehan High School. Tickets are $10. All proceeds from the concert are going to Master’s Manna.