Bay Path student prompts Winterfest road show

Date: 12/1/2008

By Lori Szepelak


HOLYOKE Bay Path College students are taking their Winterfest show on the road this holiday season, thanks in part to one of its dance members -- Amanda Marie Boileau.

Winterfest is an annual performance by the Bay Path College Performing Arts Department in Longmeadow to observe the winter solstice and ring in the holiday season. The production features dance, music and selected spiritual readings that intertwine the themes of light, hope, goodwill and peace for all people.

Boileau, a passionate dancer who is majoring in biology, suggested to her fellow performers that bringing an abbreviated version of the show to others across the river would be a wonderful way to spread goodwill across the region.

"As an active member in the Providence Place community, I have really enjoyed being around all of the people at Providence Place and they always share the great things in their lives to me as I do to them," Boileau said during an interview with Reminder Publications. Boileau has worked part-time as a server in the dining room at Providence Place in Holyoke for more than two years.

Boileau noted that Bay Path is also a "very important place" to her since all the girls have become "like family" as well.

"I have felt the need to have both meet because both places help to inspire me to be the best that I can be," she added.

Boileau recruited the assistance of Sister Joan Ryzewicz, SSJ, director of resident programs at Providence Place on Gamelin Street, to work out the logistics of bringing a mini version of Winterfest to the chapel, and the end result is slated Dec. 7 at 3 p.m. The production is free and open to the public.

Boileau said the Winterfest production in Holyoke will feature several motivational speakers expounding on the holiday season, as well as a candlelight dance segment and numerous chorale selections.

"I hope that the residents at Providence Place take away the feeling they are really cared for and that they have made a difference in my life and have impacted me in such a way that I really want to be a better person," Boileau said.

Boileau added that she and her fellow students hope area residents who attend also find the production uplifting.

"We want to inspire people to really enjoy the upcoming Christmas season," Boileau said.

Winterfest will also be staged on Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Theatre, Carr Hall, at Bay Path College, Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow. For more information on this free event, call Bay Path at (800) 782-7284.