RUMFORD – The Rumford Town Hall auditorium will soon be filled with the sound of music, as local artists gather to present two shows to benefit the Jane Holt deFrees Education Fund.

Opening on Saturday, Feb. 18, with an encore presentation on Sunday, Feb. 19, the program will feature singers, dancers and musicians from the River Valley area in a variety show format.

Directed by Bob Bohren, the show features a mix of musical styles and sounds, focusing on the entertainers, professional and amateur that live in, or have ties to the Rumford area.

Performers scheduled to appear include pianist Ross Swain, vocalist Ginny Palmer, singer/guitarist Jim Gallant, the trio of Thea Dunn, Tim Cormier and Liz Cihak, trombonist Dan Labonte, a trio of tap dancers from Miss Stephany’s School of Dance and magician Scot Grassette.

With the show’s proceeds earmarked for the deFrees Fund scholarship program, some of the area’s talented youngsters have also been included on the bill. The cast of the Mountain Valley High School Spring Musical, “Kilroy Was Here,” will present a production number from their show and the school Jazz Ensemble will provide some big band sound.

The Rumford Historical Society Education Committee began work on a scholarship program, using proceeds from the 2004 Rumford Center “Country Fair.” The committee chose to name the fund for the late Jane Holt deFrees, a lifelong teacher, community activist and supporter of the cause of education.

In addition to the original investment, proceeds from a variety show held two years ago were included in the fund and the first deFrees scholarships were presented to Mountain Valley High School Class of 2005 graduating seniors, Audrey Marquis and Tristan Lapointe.

Through investment in the Maine Community Foundation, the fund will eventually become self-sustaining.

“Jane, as a teacher, was adamant that the most important thing in the world for international rational discussion (and ultimately, agreement) is a well-educated population,” said Burt deFrees, Jane’s husband and a past president of the Rumford Historical Society.

Show time for the Saturday performance is 7 p.m. and the Sunday matinee will begin at 2 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door at $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and students.


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