When planning the first Christmas Concert with the Stars, Miles City resident Lois Skinn felt a little trepidation, not knowing if the program would be a success.
I started out thinking maybe the church would like it, make them a little money,” Sinn said. “But I wasn’t really sure if it would go. Who wants to throw a party and nobody comes?”
She needn’t have worried. The show was a hit, and has grown in popularity so much over the last four years a larger venue was now needed.
“It turned out to be wonderful,” she said. “We’ve had great shows with good people. The talent level in this town is really something else. The shows got bigger every year. We started out having it at the United Methodist Church, but last year people could hardly find a place to sit. A different venue was what we needed.”
The 2013 Christmas with the Stars is Saturday, Nov. 23, in the Custer County District High School auditorium. Beginning at 7 p.m., the program will feature vocal and instrumental performances from local talents, including Skinn and her “stars.” Refreshments will be provided, and a free-will offering will serve to benefit HRH Hospice Care, as well as Wake Up & Lace Up. Skinn will also give tributes to veterans Frank Stoltz and Steve Haverluk, as well as Rosa Neese and Cindy Reid.
“We’ve got great talent this year. People just love to do it,” Skinn said. “I’m very satisfied with how the show is shaping up. I feel so blessed. People are so tickled to do it, I can’t get over it.”
Skinn went on to say how gratified she is that so many people benefit from the money raised from the concert over the years.
“All the proceeds will be divided between hospice and Wake Up & Lace Up, two very deserving programs,” she said. “That’s what makes me feel blessed. If I can help anybody with my program, give it to me, I’ll do it.”
Asked if she plans to continue with the concert in the future, Skinn didn’t hesitate to answer.
“I plan to keep doing it until I drop over on the stage,” she said, laughing. “We have a lot of fun, a lot of laughs. And it always goes for a great cause.”
HRH Foundation Executive Director Jackie Muri said it’s always a treat working with Skinn, and she’s constantly amazed at the level of talent Skinn is able to find year in and year out.
“Lois has done such a phenomenal job building this concert into what it’s become,” Muri said. “The reality is, and I mean this genuinely, the caliber of talent she finds is outstanding. It’s as good as any concert you will see anywhere. It’s fun to see local people get an opportunity to showcase their talents while benefitting local charities. It’s just a great way to kick off the holiday season.”
The HRH Hospice program is the only one of its kind in the region, and provides end-of-life care to not only patients, but their loved ones as well, according to Muri. The service is funded primarily through charitable gifts, which makes partnering with the concert all the more special.
“Anyone who attends the concert is going to have an amazing evening,” she said. “They will leave there ready for the holidays, but also really uplifted. There is a spiritual component to the evening, and you just leave with something special.”