A multinational cast of 100 talented and passionate young people representing 20 countries will make Statesboro the fourth stop on their 2015 North American tour. On Friday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m., Up with People will perform at Statesboro High School, entertaining the audience with song, dance and musical instruments.
Best known for their high-energy, upbeat, family-friendly entertainment, casts of Up with People have toured the globe for nearly 50 years.
While in Statesboro August 24-31, members of Up with People will participate in various local service projects and live with local host families. On a visit to Statesboro two years ago, Up with People served 10 local organizations, completing 766 hours of community service.
The 2013 group visited with 1,566 local youth, and more than 50 host families opened their homes for the 112 cast members.
Up with People alumna Debbie Walker, who lives in Statesboro has been instrumental in securing sponsors for the group’s visit and says she is actively seeking additional sponsors for the program.
Walker took part in the Up with People organization in 1984, after graduating from college with an education degree.
“I’d seen a show in Wisconsin, where I’m from, and thought it would be an amazing experience to be part of the group,” said Walker.
After auditioning and being chosen, Walker visited 14 states, two Canadian Provinces and seven European countries during her one-year stint with the organization.
“The neat thing about Up with People is that it takes ordinary people and uses their voices and talents to make a difference in the world,” she said. “Up with People uses music as a tool, an international language to share the mission of building bridges among the community, among the world – with everyone.”
The participants of Up with People serve the communities they visit in a variety of ways, but they have the opportunity to grow and learn throughout their time of commitment. Up with People provides young adults an international and intercultural experience that teaches service leadership and uses the performing arts to deliver messages of hope and goodwill throughout the world.
The mission of Up with People is to spark young adults and others to action in meeting the needs of their communities, countries and the world while building bridges of understanding as a foundation for world peace.
Walker has another reason for her partiality to the Up with People organization. It was during her time as a cast member that she met fellow cast member, Lee Walker, a young trumpet player who would become her husband. As members of the band, Debbie and Lee reported to Up with People training one week before the rest of the cast and she says it was pretty much love at first sight for the trumpet player and saxophone player.
“I tell everyone, ‘He was from Georgia; I was from Wisconsin. We trained in Arizona, traveled the world, and then wound up at Georgia Southern College in Statesboro.’”
Their fairy-tale meeting and marriage influenced daughter Katie to try out her voice for Up with People, and Katie spent a year traveling as a cast member and then worked for the organization for a couple of years before returning to the states to complete her college degree.
For more information, to host a cast member or to become a sponsor for the event, visit www.upwithpeople.org or call Chelsea Glosser at (216) 258-8181.