Talent Show of Hope raises money to help the needy around the world – Diocese of Paterson

MUSIC FOR CHARITYQ Furnald (left), a Catholic songwriter, accompanied by Carolmarie Toriello, another songwriter, on acoustic guitar as they sang contemporary Christian songs during the 16th Talent Show of Hope, a charity fundraising event fundraiser held this year on August 13 outside St. Theresa Church in Succasunna.

Talent Show of Hope raises funds to help the needy around the world


SUCCASUNNAGabrianna Boomer, 26, stands alone in front of a microphone and sings the Christian ballad, “The Prayer”, on a warm August 13 night outside St. Therese Church here. Performing it a cappella, she stirs the hearts of the 40 or so people in front of her, singing it sometimes loud like a rocker and other times soft like a prayer – an intention to God for the success of this charity event, called the Talent Show of hope.

“I pray that you will be our eyes and watch us where we are going And help us to be wise in times when we do not know,” sings Boomer, a 2013 graduate of Pope John XXIII High School in Sparta, during of her appearance at the talent show. Now in its 16th year, it serves as a summer youth performing arts showcase and fundraiser that helps more than 70, mostly Catholic, organizations involved in social justice awareness and faith formation. . “Lead us somewhere. Guide us with your grace to a place where we will be safe,” she sings.

Over the years, Talent Show of Hope, a nonprofit organization, has raised more than $140,000 in monetary contributions – as well as property donations – for organizations that help the poor and promote the faith locally and globally. world. Entitled “A Beautiful Night of Sharing: God is Love,” the August 13 event also included the recitation of the Rosary and Mass in the church, before the talent show, which featured singers and instrumentalists, such as than Boomer.

“I love sharing my God-given talents with the community,” said Boomer, a cantor at St. Mary’s Parish in Nutley and primary school vocal music teacher in Kenilworth, who grew up in the parish. St. Jude in Hopatcong. “I love supporting this selfless cause,” she said.

This year marked Boomer’s 10th appearance at the talent show, founded by Theresa Solazzo of St. Therese, who serves as co-producer and chair of the event. Solazzo scaled back this year’s event because it decided to postpone a larger, live-streamed event, including with a beneficiary parish in the Philippines. In the past, it also featured dancers and magicians, as well as a master of ceremonies, assisted by a volunteer stage crew, Solazzo said.

That evening, singers and instrumentalists performed on the driveway leading to St. Therese Church, while the public listened from their chairs on the lawn in front of the church.

“The performances featured uplifting songs — mostly Christian music — that honored God and reminded people that God is love,” said Solazzo, a married mother of three. This year’s talent show, she said, brought in $1,400, and more contributions keep pouring in. “Artists lift people’s spirits and bring them joy,” she said.

The Talent Show of Hope has sponsored countless actions near and far over the years. They include, drinking water for Kenya, bicycles for Haiti, backpacks with school supplies for the children of Newark, 18 statues of Our Lady of Fatima for world peace for the Philippines, thousands of prayer beads spread around the world, a chicken coop for Nigeria, education for children in Guatemala and Kenya, and temporary hotel stays and food for local homeless people, Solazzo said.

Also called Seeds of Hope, the Talent Show of Hope works with organizations such as Food for the Poor; religious orders such as the Missionaries of Charity; local parishes such as St. Michael in Netcong; and local clergy like Father Vidal Gonzales Jr., pastor of St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Sparta. She and some members of her family visited the Philippines. Seeds of Hope has operated a missionary home for eight months during the pandemic and hopes to expand its local reach in the areas of Catholic education, spirituality and formation, Solazzo said.

“We want to help people struggling with spiritual poverty, homelessness and addiction; nations that have suffered terrible natural disasters, such as typhoons; and people who need healing through Mass, the Rosary and returning to Church,” said Solazzo, who spoke of efforts to help a young man struggling with homelessness and drug addiction.

The event began on a high note of spirituality with the recitation of an international rosary in St. Therese Church with the parish Rosary Warriors – a group of worshipers of all ages – followed by a mass of Thanksgiving to God and Blessed Mother for the success of the Talent Show of Hope. Celebrating the mass was Father Marc Mancini, former parish priest of Sainte-Thérèse and current parish priest of the parish of Saint-Jacques des Marches, Totowa. Father Richard Kilcomons is the current pastor of Sainte-Thérèse, Father Dulibber Gonzalez, parochial vicar, having celebrated the last two masses for Talent Show of Hope. Last year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19, Solazzo said.

After a microphone and amplifier were set up on the church’s main aisle, Cayden Douris, a fifth-grade student and Rosary Warrior, sang the “Star-Spangled Banner,” before reciting other prayers, with the help of Ariana Perez, a 7-year-old Rosary Warrior. Later, Douris performed “Amazing Grace” as a trombone duet with his father, Rich.

“I was a little nervous, but it was fun,” Douris said.

Later, as some in the audience stood up for pizza, pretzels, ice cream and drinks nearby, Q Furnald, a Catholic songwriter from Morristown, accompanied Carolmarie Toriello, another songwriter, at the acoustic guitar to sing contemporary songs. Christian songs.

“It’s remarkable what Theresa has accomplished over all these years. She is determined to help those in need. The Talent Show of Hope has helped a lot of people,” Father Mancini said. “It’s also a way for young people to show off their talent – like a mini ‘America’s Got Talent’ [television show],” he said.

The talent show began at the Solazzo Bridge in Succasunna in 2005, involving her husband, children and neighbors, and slowly grew into an annual community event with acts from local schools and far beyond. In recent years it has drawn 200 to 400 people and has been held at other local Catholic parishes and public schools, including Roxbury High School, she said.

While folding her chair, Rinna Reyes Lin of Corpus Christi Parish in Chatham Township told The Beacon she was “surprised, inspired and blown away by the level of talent” in the show.

“It was a wonderful evening of praise and worship, especially at the end of the summer,” said Reyes Lin.

[To donate, call (973) 927-3978 or visit “Talent Show of Hope” on its page on Facebook.]

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