By Bill Schlichting
Pilot staff writer
Santa's helpers mother and daughter duo April and Denise Peyton almost canceled the second-annual "An Evening of Christmas" Saturday night, but decided the show must go on.
The cancellation would not have been because of weather conditions or lack of performers, but because the April learned that her daughter Danielle, who lives in Salem, was about to give birth. The Peyton's were ready to leave town.
As soon as the show started, the announcement was made about the impending birth. The show was staged and, in the holiday spirit, members of the audience told the organizers: "Go."
April said she was ecstatic to find the audience cleaned up the Pistol River Friendship Hall after the show, which allowed her and Denise to go see the newborn, which is a boy.
As for the show itself, April said "It was absolutely fantastic. There was a good turnout."
The friendship hall at the north end of Carpenterville Road was filled with people who came to listen to music as well as who came to perform a variety of songs, skits and readings, she said.
In addition to money raised by the admission price, the Pistol River Friendship Club also had desserts and hot beverages for sale. Proceeds benefitted Oasis Shelter Home in Gold Beach.
Kicking off the evening was Alexandra Eyer who performed a mixture of Christmas music on the piano while people entered the hall. Many times throughout the evening, the audience was welcomed to sing along.
Perry Devine was first to take the stage performing "Suddenly It's Christmas." He was followed by Lyndsey Dixon and Emily Anthony who performed a reindeer skit.
"Silent Night," performed by Laura Middleton and Cory Simonson led the audience to a performance about that silent night in a skit performed by the LeClair family titled "'Twas the Night Before Jesus." The short play was followed by David Stephenson on guitar and harmonica singing "Away in the Manger."
Epiphany Law sang "All I Want for Christmas is You," which was followed by Les Stansell on guitar and Grant Ruiz on violin playing Spanish Christmas music.
Izzy the Elf, also known as Denise Peyton, gathered the children in the audience together and read a Christmas story.
Following the intermission, several new artists performed as well as a few returnees from the first half of the program.
Anthony returned to the stage with Michelle Hampton and they sang "Angels We Have Heard on High" and "The Wassail Song." This was followed by Hampton singing "Silent Night" solo, which was dedicated to her mother.
The Reading Wizard of Od' Earl Mohr planned to read "Auntie Clause," but at the last minute changed to read the newly release "A Lump of Coal." April said even though there were many distractions, many people in the audience appeared glued to Mohr giving a vocal interpretation of the story.
Devine returned to the stage to perform "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Following his song, Santa Claus did not come to town, but rather "Santa Baby" came onto the stage, which was performed by Denise Peyton. Her mother said she performed the song last year and presented it again this year by request.
Stephenson returned to the stage with his guitar and harmonica to sing "Go Tell it on the Mountain." The audience's chanted for more and he obliged by performing "Amazing Grace" for the encore.
The audience then received an unscheduled performance of "O Holy Night" sung solo by Hampton.
Capping off the program was Laws returning to sing "A Grown Up Christmas List" followed by "Little Drummer Boy" performed by Middleton, Simonson and Luke Martinez. Martinez used the wooden box on which he was seated as his drum.
April Peyton said she is looking forward to bringing the variety show back next year and, yes, she is planning to bring the grandson who was just born and maybe her other two grandchildren as well.