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--- Issued December 22, 2009

Lillian Wiesen has been a resident of Curry/Schell for 12 years, but the last couple Christmas holiday seasons at her building have been special, thanks to the annual Christmas show, put on by the GECAC HomePLUS Program and Authority volunteers.

Volunteer dancers and actors Rose Knepper, David Yusz, Lynn Lusz, Lisa Kasbee
entertain residents during one of the Authority's Christmas shows.

"I certainly appreciate what these people do," Wiesen said. "They practiced their dance routines on their lunch hours for weeks ahead of these shows and then they spend more time putting them on for us. I had just finished the laundry and was looking forward to a Christmas show ... It was very nice, and it was very nice of everyone to do this. I doubt many other housing authorities in the country would do this -- too much work!"

This year the Authority and the HomePLUS program did s series of four shows, one each at the seniors' buildings -- Schmid, Curry/Schell, Ostrow, and Friendship.

Each show consisted of a series of 13 dance and musical numbers and each one had a costume change.

Besides the HomePLUS and Housing Authority staff, other performers included Carl Pasky a resident at Schmid Towers who served as the master of ceremonies and stand up-comic, as well as John Pete, Pasky's sidekick and our photographer. Pete is coordinator of the Authority's HomePlus Program.

Santa Claus was played by David Yusz, the husband of HomePLUS Activities Coordinator Lynn Yusz, who was responsible for the choreography for all the dance routines.

The theme of this year's show was trying to persuade, via singing and dancing, Santa Claus to fly from San Francisco to New York to light the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center.

The dancers, along with Lynn Yusz, were volunteers who have day jobs working for the Housing Authority. "They gave up their lunch hours over a period of weeks to practice the routine and do the performances," said John Horan, Authority director. It takes a lot of effort to put on a show like this. They do it on their own time and practiced for several months. This exemplifies the willingness of some people to stand up and share their talensts in the true giving spirt of christmas."

"It takes a lot of the commercialism out of Christmas, that's for sure," Horan said.

Dancers for this year's show were Anna Kirk and Karen Carneval from the Accounting Department;, Rose Knepper, Central Office Secretary; Lisa Kasbee, Tenant Selection; and Lynnette Burkhart, an intern working in the Accounting Department. Karen's daughter Olivia also danced.

A total of more than 200 residents at all four buildings attended the hour-long shows.