Dan Kane Singers perform at ‘Magical Night of Giving’
Date: 11/29/2011Nov. 30, 2011
By Lori Szepelak
HOLYOKE Giving back to the community is what the Dan Kane Singers do on a regular basis, so their concert at Holyoke Mall at Ingleside on Nov. 20 was a perfect complement to the sixth annual “Magical Night of Giving” event.
Each year, Holyoke Mall businesses offer specific discounts during the event that help raise funds for local nonprofit organizations. One of the booths that had nonstop traffic was Providence Ministries for the Needy Inc., of Holyoke, which collected nonperishable food items for its food pantry and sold tickets for the evening of discounted shopping. Adjacent to the Providence Ministries booth was the stage for the Dan Kane Singers, which drew a crowd of close to 100 within minutes of the start of their show.
“The Dan Kane Singers are regular folks from all different towns and communities using their talents to help others,” Dan Kane said during an interview with Reminder Publications
. He formed the group in 1977 when he was 16 years old. He is a special needs educator for the city of Westfield and currently teaches at Franklin Avenue School.
“One of the most thrilling aspects of branching out into so many areas of Western Massachusetts is the connections we have to those communities,” he said. “We are a part of that community and the giving back makes us feel so wonderful.”
The Dan Kane Singers are a family of more than 150 members ranging in age from 5 to 80. Singers come from all walks of life and consist of students, teachers, nurses, office workers, carpenters, politicians, and retirees.
“We are always looking for new members to join the fun,” Kane said.
For Shea Braceland, 5, of Westfield, her first six months with the group has been a “treat.”
“Dan helps us with the music so we can sing better,” she said, just before belting out the holiday classic, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”
Maeve Jordan, 9, of East Longmeadow, echoed Braceland’s sentiments.
“We get to make people happy and make them smile,” she said. Jordan took the stage several times and among the solo songs she sang were “Jingle Bells” and “Winter Wonderland.”
Soon the teenagers took the stage and included Madeline Lukomski, 14, of Westfield, and Keila Roman, 15, of Holyoke. Both Lukomski and Roman performed several songs, and engaged the audience by leaving the stage and walking among the attendees.
“We are a family, we understand each other,” Lukomski said. “Everyone cares about each other.” Lukomski has been a member of the group for seven years and acknowledges the experience has given her a wonderful sense of self-esteem.
“Performing builds your confidence and it’s a lot of fun,” she said.
Roman joined the group four years ago and she too encourages others who love to sing to consider being a part of the Dan Kane Singers.
“I love being around people who love music just as much as I do,” Roman said.
With their concert season in full swing, there are still several opportunities to hear their holiday show across Western Massachusetts. A sampling of upcoming events include:
• Dec. 3, 2 p.m., Irish Culture Center at Elms College, Chicopee, sponsors a “Christmas with an Irish Touch” concert at the Veritas Auditorium. The concert is free. For more information, call 737-7817.
• Dec. 11, 3 p.m., Dan Kane and Friends Christmas Concert at Agawam Congregational Church. For tickets, call 786-7111.
• Dec. 15, 12:30 p.m., Dan Kane and Friends Concert at the East Longmeadow Senior Center. This is a paid event with dinner. Call 525-5436 for details.
• Dec. 17, 1 to 4 p.m., the group returns to the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside for an afternoon of “Caroling at the Mall.”
• Dec. 24, 4 p.m., Dan Kane Singers Christmas Eve Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Springfield. Free.
In addition to these events, the singers will also visit the correctional institutions for men and women in the region on Dec. 10.
“This is our fifth year and we have enjoyed bringing our music to both the women’s and men’s prisons during the Christmas season,” Kane said. “[This is] one of the most moving events of our entire musical year.”
Kane noted that the Dan Kane Singers have “tremendous heart and soul” and is unique because it combines children and adults in all performances.
“If you want to see real people who absolutely love what they do, it is the Dan Kane Singers,” he said. “We project smiles, enthusiasm and a passion for music and life.”
For more information on joining the Dan Kane Singers or for specifics about all of their upcoming events, visit www.dankanesingers.org