By Jonathan E. Coleman
Phil Provin considers himself a bit of a clown.
At a recent rehearsal for an upcoming performance of “The Birth of Christmas,” the Harrisburg man, in character, wandered through a sea of fellow thespians holding a sheet of paper over his head that read “mistletoe.” His wife, Barbara, couldn’t help but laugh.
The chance to clown around and get back to acting, which he’d done in high school, were some of the reasons Provin wanted to get involved in the Community Impact Productions’ upcoming musical performance.
But, aside from putting on an entertaining show, the group’s mission is nothing to laugh at.
Community Impact Productions was created by Andy Gazak about two years ago after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Gazak decided the best way to help would be to use his strengths in producing a benefit performance.
In December 2005, the first Community Impact Productions’ performance took the stage. Proceeds from that event were split 50/50 with the American Red Cross and Samaritans Purse.
“The bug bit, and we thought we could do more,” Gazak said.
One of the cast members from the original show, who also attends the Provin’s church, invited the couple to participate in a second show, held last summer.
“We’re told in scriptures to help the community, and that’s what CIP is all about,” Phil Provin said. “This gives us a chance to serve God and the community and do something we like.”
And the Provins aren’t alone. The cast of this year’s “The Birth of Christmas” is made up of volunteers from nearly a dozen churches from across the county.
“It’s people from all different backgrounds and all different walks of life, with all different strengths,” Gazak said.
Those strengths will come together for “The Birth of Christmas” at the Kannapolis Performing Arts Center at A.L. Brown High School Saturday, Dec. 15. The show will include a mix of music, dance, comedy and drama that will share the holiday spirit through both sacred and secular songs and messages.
Proceeds from this year’s event will be distributed to needy families in Cabarrus and neighboring counties through Cooperative Christian Ministry.
“They’re the tracks and we’re the locomotive,” Gazak said. “We’ll do what we can to bring the people to the arts and then they’ll take what we give them and put it right back into the community.”
CIP will also host a special invitation-only performance for special needs members of the community, identified through local groups and agencies that work with special needs people.
“We’re going to love on them and bless them with the music just to let them get something out of it,” Gazak said. “We’re going to do the same thing as we will at the paid 7 o’clock show. We want to do that to impact them as well.”
Advanced tickets to the 7 p.m. show are available for $10 through iTickets.com or by phone at 704-819-4429. Day of show tickets will be sold at the door for $12.
• Contact Jonathan E. Coleman at [email protected] or 704-789-9105.