Picture a family struggling to put food on the table. There is no money for Christmas gifts for the children. Then picture the faces of those children when they find gifts waiting for them on Christmas morning. Makes you smile, doesn't it.
There was a lot of smiling in homes in Las Vegas after the Toys for Tots organization distributed more than $200,000 worth of toys for the holiday with the help of the US Marine Corps Reserve. The Corp's mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.
Thanks go to the Las Vegas entertainment community and a few key individuals who stepped forward to bring the toys and smiles to the children. The catalyst was the Toys for Tots Benefit Event held at LVH on December 15, 2013. The Fifth Annual Toys for Tots Benefit Concert was over the top.
Admission to the event was by ticket purchase or the donation of new unused unwrapped toys. It was gratifying to watch people arriving with both tickets and children's toys.
Executive Producer Jonathan Scott and co producer L. J. Harness of Cadillac of Las Vegas worked their magic for the kids. Scott was enthusiastic as he talked about this year's Benefit Concert. When you start with a line up that includes the incomparable Clint Holmes and Kelly Clinton-Holmes co-hosting with Entertainer Chris Phillips aka Zowie Bowie and Musician Lydia Ansel, its hard to go wrong. And these two guys had the friends to call to make this happen. Jonathan Scott also appears regularly on Fridays at 9 am on The Morning Blend, ABC TV, CH. 13, Las Vegas, promoting Vegas Shows, Hotels and Restaurants.
Scott's favorite moments of the show included the impromptu performance by Motley Crue's Lead Singer and Las Vegas Resident, Vince Neil, who requested a Hawaiian Christmas song that no one knew.
"I had my Musical Director, David Perrico, approach me during rehearsal with Vince's request to sing something that sounded like, 'Mooki Mooki Makkka Lai". No one knew the song but, half way through the live show, it dawned on me that our female vocalist, Jasmine Trias, (American Idol third Season Runner Up) was Hawaiian. I approached Jasmine and asked her if she knew any Hawaiian songs and she said she only knew, Mooki Mooki Makka Lai, (that's what it sounded like to me). I asked her if she would sing it with Vince, she said yes. I asked one of our hosts, Chris Phillips, (aka Zowie Bowie) if he could bring Vince Neil on stage to sing with Jasmine. Vince said yes and we made it happen.”
This year's concert had a theme – "Las Vegas Loves the Beatles". Most of the performers came ready to sing songs made famous by one of the most famous groups of all times. Others carried the Christmas theme to the stage.
Vegas favorite David Perrico returned as Musical Director along with his 12 piece band and singers Naomi Mauro and Laura Shaffer.
Host Clint Holmes, (Artist in Residence at the Smith Center for Performing Arts) knocked it out of the park with the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby. Entertainer Kelly Clinton-Holmes (Holmes wife) did an impersonation of Ringo Starr that had the audience rolling with laughter.
Robert DeNiro impersonator/comedian Robert Nash had the audience in stitches with his Goodfellas style version of The Night Before Christmas.
Other performers donating their time and talent included Songstress Skye Dee Miles, singer and magician Ben Stone, Comedian Steve Rossi, stage and screen star Adrian Zmed, Jason and Janea Ebs, Christina Amato, Elvis impersonator Trent Carlini, Neil Diamond Tribute artist Rob Garrett, Kent Foote, Pia Zadora along with Vince Falcone, and Art Vargas. John Paine and Paul Shortino joined together to sing "I'll Be Home for Christmas."in their Christmas hats - a huge hit.
Michelle Johnson closed the show along with the Desert Angels Children's Choir singing Hallelujah. A standing ovation followed for their act and all the others who donated their time, their energy and their talents to brighten the holiday for the children.
Celebrities had a good time walking the red carpet both before and following the show during the after party.
Photos by Dianne R. Davis or Burt Davis unless otherwise stated.