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Christmas performances to be dedicated to Tom Riley

A Childlike Christmas, sponsored by The Creative Youth Theater Foundation, will be performed by The Foundation’s Tipton Creek Musical Theater Company.
The one-hour performances will take place at 6 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 17 at The Church In The Middle Of The Block Cultural Resource Center, 217 5th Avenue in Altoona.
Admission fee is one new and unwrapped toy per person to benefit the St. Vincent DePaul Society Soup Kitchen families. Admission is free for children under the age of 14. Audiences should bring their toys to the performance of their choice.
Created and produced by Tom Sweitzer and Kim Tapper, A Childlike Christmas will begin with welcome remarks by State Representative Rick Geist at the 6 p.m. performance and Altoona Mayor Tom Martin at 8 p.m. The program will feature a mixture of traditional and contemporary Christmas music along with dances, poetry and songs. The event will also include performances by guest artists and audience participation.
“A Childlike Christmas is dedicated to the memory of Tom Riley, who left our world on November 6 to embrace the Eternal Father in Heaven,” said Anthea L. Germano, speaking in behalf of the Creative Youth Theater Foundation.
“Tom believed in the goodness and honesty of today’s children and supported the Creative Youth Theater Foundation with his heart, mind and spirit. It is to his undying spirit that we in the Foundation pledge to continue his legacy of compassion and love for people of all ages,” Germano explained.
The Creative Youth Theater Foundation, formed in 2004, is made up of The Middleburg Teen Theater Class comprised of teenagers from Loudoun County in Middleburg, Virginia and The Tipton Creek Musical Theater Company consisting of teenagers from Blair and surrounding counties. The Tipton Creek group, under the direction of Sweitzer and Tapper, rehearses one weekend a month from September to June at The Church In The Middle Of The Block and has performed in Middleburg, Virginia and at DelGrosso’s Amusement Park.
Riley was involved in creating the Foundation and was instrumental in presenting the debut performance of the Tipton Creek group at DelGrosso’s Amusement Park in June of this year. He often coordinated events between the Middleburg and Tipton teens.
Artistic directors, Tom Sweitzer and Kim Tapper recalled Riley’s dedication to these young people.
“With the flick of a button, Tom Riley took care of everything from organizing lunches, transportation, and T-shirt orders to arranging press releases and film crews. But what Tom loved best was getting involved with the kids and learning their stories. He became invested in each of their lives and was determined to make this Foundation work to benefit the teenagers who touched his heart.”
For more information about the Christmas performances or the Creative Youth Theater Foundation, contact Kim Tapper at 571-276-3576.