Café Cabaret Benefits Village Preschool

By Liz Premo, Atlantic News Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Thursday, July 15, 2004

HAMPTON — When the Village Preschool in Hampton sent out word recently that it needed financial assistance from the community to stay in operation, the response was "really tremendous," according to Director Virginia Bridle.

Not only did "a lot of small donations" add up to a large amount in a very short amount of time, but $10,000 in matching funds was generously donated by Drakes Appleton Corporation in Hampton.

An assortment of fundraisers, including a yard sale, car wash, and pancake breakfast are also helping to bring in the $20,000 Bridle estimated was needed before the end of the month of July. And while the school appears to have already reached, if not exceeded, that total, the contributions continue to come in, in one form or another.

"It’s been great," Bridle says of the community’s generosity and willingness to respond so readily to such an urgent need.

One source of assistance will be coming in the form of a Café Cabaret, taking place on Tuesday, July 20 from 7-9 p.m. at Hobbs House, located at 200 High Street in Hampton. A $5 donation will be gratefully accepted. The benefit, organized by the mother-and-daughter team of Marianne and Alison Cusano, will feature musical entertainment, refreshments, and a fun way to help with a very worthy cause.

According to Marianne (whose younger daughter has attended Village Preschool), it was Alison who came up with the idea of having the Café Cabaret. A talented actress with extensive onstage experience at venues like the Seacoast Repertory Theatre and at Winnacunnet High School (where she will be a senior come this fall), Alison would like "to put a show together as a Senior Seminar project."

Although this current venture will not serve that particular purpose, says Marianne, "when this [call for help] came up, we figured it was the perfect opportunity" to give it a go. So Alison sent out a mass e-mail to her fellow actors (many of them students from the cast of "Les Miserables School Edition"), asking them to take part "with no rehearsal — just sing a song and be great."

"The response we got back was unbelievable," says Marianne, "especially since [they are] all so busy this summer." Among those answering the call were Seacoast area talents Rob Ross, Lynette Miles, Rob Scullin, Julie Dubela, and Laura Corlin, among many others. Providing musical accompaniment on piano will be Kathy Fink, who will use sheet music provided by the performers.

"This Café sounds like a lot of fun," says Bridle, clearly enthusiastic about the fundraiser. "It should be great."

"Great" is a word that Marianne could easily use to describe what she thinks about the Village Preschool. "The staff is just so devoted to the children," she says. "You can tell they love what they do — they love the children." Then, summing up what many in the community likely felt when they heard the school was in need of assistance, Marianne says simply, "[We] just had to do something to help them."

The community can continue to help out as well by attending the Café Cabaret on Tuesday, July 20 from 7-9 p.m. at Hobbs House on High Street in Hampton, or by sending a donation to the Village Preschool, 70 High Street, Hampton, NH 03842.