Community news: Program helps disabled reach potential, recycling clothing, Merry TubaChristmas concert

There is no better way to get into the holiday spirit than attending the Holiday Program presented by BCR "a place to grow."

BCR provides program services for children and adults with developmental disabilities that enable them to achieve their individual potentials and become increasingly self-reliant, well-integrated and contributing members of their families and communities, according to its mission statement.

The program, celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, is a success. Oftentimes I recognize BCR clients out in the community waiting for the bus, shopping at Ralphs and working at fast-food chains. Several of the young women in the program are now members of the Aktion Club, a branch of the Kiwanis Club for adults with disabilities. They plan and implement successful fundraisers and go to conventions and bring home awards.

Clearly their success is because of the BCR program. And the Holiday Program is a major component to helping clients build self-confidence. There is no fear of getting up in front of more than 50 people and singing or dancing along with pre-recorded music. The performance has been held for several years in mid-November at St. Francis Xavier Holy Cross Hall.

This year, Act 1 featured several songs by favorite artists like “Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me” by Elvis and “Happy Christmas” by John Lennon. Clients Ernie Pistacchio and Mark Nakamura finished the set with an endearing performance of “O Holy Night.” Clients illustrated the best way to handle a stressful situation in Act 2 by singing and dancing to songs like “Let It Go” and “Get Over It.”

It is inspiring to see how much joy the staff exhibits while watching their clients entertain parents and friends. Executive Director Lonna Dunson has an extraordinary community program of which she can be very proud.

Cleaners recycling clothing

Flair Cleaners continues to help the underprivileged with its 10th annual holiday clothing drive. Customers are encouraged to bring gently used clothing to nearby Burbank or Studio City locations and drop them in the festively decorated donation boxes in the lobby until Dec. 31.

A tally is kept by managers at all five locations in hopes of exceeding last year's total of 6,000 donations. Receipts will be provided for tax deduction purposes.

Charities benefiting from the collection this year include the National Council of Jewish Women Thrift Shop, the Disabled American Veterans, St. Vincent de Paul’s Thrift Store and Helping Hands for the Blind.

Tubas herald the holidays

There are many choirs and orchestras performing shows filled with music of the season, but another musical group offers a jollier take on the holidays with the Merry TubaChristmas concert.

Hundreds of tuba and baritone players ranging in age from 8 to 80 will gather for the 36th annual event at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Hall of Liberty in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles. They will perform Christmas and Hanukkah selections. The concert is free, and the audience is encouraged to sing along.

Marking his second year as conductor is Burbank resident Scott Wilkinson, who is a professional tubist and longtime TubaChristmas participant.

All tuba and baritone/euphonium players are invited to participate, including students. For more information, visit or email Scott Wilkinson at

JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at

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