They come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are professional entertainers. Others are amateurs with music in their veins.
And all have got spirit, patriotic spirit, that is.
On Tuesday, residents in one of Northwest Tucson’s premier active communities will present SaddleBrooke’s Got Talent: Our Patriotic Spirit, featuring singers, dancers and comedians all competing for fame and fortune in SaddleBrooke’s Mountain View Ballroom.
Opening and closing the show will be 30 talented cast members, who will perform patriotic music honoring Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Based on the popular America’s Got Talent, contestants will strut their stuff, with the results decided by three professional judges and audience votes.
The annual show is already sold out, but variety show fans can catch the top three acts when they perform as the opening act for Robert Shaw on Nov. 12 and at the Palo Verde Room on Nov. 30.
Each contestant has their own reason for participating in the ninth annual community show. Jim Cox has been writing poetry for 50 years. Now the poet laureate of the International Society of Poets, Cox used the song “America, the Beautiful” as the inspiration to write the poem he’ll perform at the show.
Cox refrains from using his hands or reading from a script when performing.
“They take the focus off what you’re saying,” he said.
The Coyote Cloggers are seasoned stage veterans, having performed on a cruise ship and at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Performing keeps its members healthy, literally.
“We clog so our arteries won’t,” joked Carol Jones, the group’s director and choreographer. “The audience can expect a foot-stomping dance to a patriotic medley.”
Norm Beasley is performing Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to Be An American.” Beasley, a professional trombone player who had his own big band in the 1950s and ‘60s, met Greenwood decades ago, long before he became famous.
At the time, Greenwood had his own big band show at a California theme park. “He played a mean tenor saxophone,” Beasley remembered.
The show was founded by husband and wife Jim and Shirley O’Brien. Both were professors at the University of Arizona for nearly 30 years – Jim in the School of Music and Shirley in the College of Agriculture and Life Science. Jim serves as the show’s musical director.
The event is a fundraiser. Proceeds will support the SaddleBrooke Performing Arts Group’s University of Arizona Endowment for a musical theater student who is short on money but long on dreams for Broadway, said Shirley O’Brien.