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Musical superheroes steal show at Schenectady church

Musical superheroes steal show at Schenectady church

Musical superheroes steal show at Schenectady church
Lee Danielson plays the recorder for a group singing the Joe Raposo tune "Sing" at Sunday's SUUperhero event.
Photographer: marc schultz/gazette photographer

While most people were preparing to sit down for Sunday's Super Bowl game, the congregation at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady was preparing for another super event SUUperhero Cabaret.

The event, held on Sunday afternoon right after the church's regularly scheduled morning services and a subsequent luncheon, is one of two fundraising events the congregation alternates hosting each year. Dozens of congregation members also made desserts and baked goods to be auctioned off for fundraising purposes.

Congregation member and one of Sunday's emcees Christy Multer explained that each year the congregation alternates between hosting a holiday fundraiser in the early winter, or a fundraiser during the month of February.

Usually, she said, the February fundraiser focuses on a Valentine's Day theme, but after around five years of sticking to that theme, she said, the congregation decided to go in a different direction.

"We figured we would show love to our heroes," Multer said on Sunday prior to the cabaret event, during which she would be performing as well.

The superhero theme was present all around the church on Sunday, which also hosted a dessert auction at the same time as the cabaret.

The event was sponsored by various congregation members who made contributions ranging from $100 to $800.

Each donation category was named after a person widely considered to be a figure of admiration, including Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. The donations and proceeds gathered during the cabaret fundraiser support the congregation's activities throughout the year.

Along the walls of the church were pictures of people Multer said are considered heroes, as Unitarian Universalists and also usually advocates of a large cause, including Levi Draheim, a 12-year-old climate activist, spanning all the way to Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The day's main event, which was the cabaret itself, featured congregation members who donned capes and masks while singing to their large audience.

Musical numbers were songs selected by the performers according to who their own personal heroes were.

The congregation's junior choir took on a rendition of "Lean On Me," by Bill Withers and another group led a singalong version of the widely-known "Sesame Street" song "Sing."

Others opted to perform songs that were a humorous nod to their own personal struggles, like Victoria Myers, who performed the poem "Sick" by Shel Silverstein, complete with ad-libbed coughs and sneezes detailing how difficult it would be to get to church in the morning.

At times, the cabaret took on a more somber note. Sarah Bilofsky, another one of the day's emcees, noted that while the some of the performers were dressed as caped superheroes, personal superheroes came from all walks of life.

"So many of us find our heroes on the field, on the ice," she said, mentioning the recent death of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant as a huge loss of a massive personal hero to many.

By the time the cabaret had started, $11,000 had already been raised, according to congregation officials.

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