By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- For years, residents of St. Lucie County have heard the inspirational voices of the children of the Avenue D Choir.
Now, for the first time, residents can watch the children perform in their first production, "No Orphans," which will also be a major fundraiser for the nonprofit group.
"The choir has been around for more than eight years, and we have given many concerts during this time," said Mary Hendricks, co-founder and director of the choir. "We wanted to do something different for our audience, as well as for our kids."
More than 50 children will take part in the show and are excited about the performance.
"Normally, they do an annual concert," said Dani Dreizehnter, a volunteer with the choir and a Fort Pierce Police officer. "This year, they get to do dancing and acting, too. They've been practicing since October."
The production will take place at 7 p.m. on Dec. 21 at Faith World in Port St. Lucie.
"No Orphans" is an original production that shows the life of a young boy named Joshua. Though life is challenging for Joshua, he winds up joining the Avenue D Choir. But even though he is accepted by everyone there, he continues to make bad decisions. What happens to him and his fellow choir members is a story that Ms. Hendricks thought needed to be seen.
"Many people who come to see us perform usually see just the finished product," she said. "They don't know what goes on behind the scenes. This is a way to invite our audience in to see that the choir is about more than just singing."
The lead role is actually played by an 11-year-old boy with the same name.
"It's a play, but there's also a lot of singing, dancing and music," said Joshua Rivera. "It's sad and funny all at the same time."
The production is being used as a fundraiser for the choir.
"None of the kids have to pay to join the choir," said Ms. Dreizehnter. "We feed them dinner after choir practice and drive them to and from performances. The money will also go toward all the costumes the children wear and even a tutor to help them with their homework if they need it. All of the money goes to help the kids."
"The storyline speaks to all of us, whether we are 11 or 71," Ms. Hendricks said. "At some point in our lives, we've all gone through what Joshua experiences, a void."
"No Orphans" takes place at 7 p.m. Dec. 21 at Faith World, 5555 St. James Drive in Port St. Lucie. Tickets are available at the door for $17 for adults and $10 for students ages 5-17.
For more information, call (772) 595-1414.