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Family ties run deep during the annual PAHS Variety Show

March 28, 2012

Matt Curry (right), a PAHS English teacher and Variety Show co-advisor, served as an emcee during the Class of 1999’s Variety Show, and this year, his younger sister, Elana, will perform during the Class of 2012’s show, which begins at 7 p.m. tonight in the PAHS auditorium. (Photo by Tom Chapin)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — It’s strange, the information that may or may not be revealed within the walls of one’s own home.

Weeks ago, after New Year’s Day and before Groundhog Day, PAHS senior Dane Baker successfully auditioned to serve as one of the four emcees — along with Micky DeChurch, Ali Mancuso and Keaton Mohney — for the 2012 Variety Show.

“Both of my parents were very excited,” Baker said. But he didn’t know a very coincidental fact that he shared with his mother, Mary Ann (Pisarcik) Baker.

When she was a PAHS senior, in 1981, she, too served as a Variety Show emcee.

“I didn’t even know until a week or so ago,” he said.

And how about those photos from his mom’s stint as an emcee, along with Marcia (Hudzick) Blose?

“She looked pretty outrageous,” he said.

Kim (Rubin) DeChurch — today, a co-advisor of the show and an emcee in 1972 — said many of the students debuting at the Variety Show tonight have had family members take part in the annual event in one way or another: In a sketch, behind the scenes or as an emcee.

However, she noted, when she posed that question to this year’s seniors, many said they weren’t sure if that was true, or simply replied, “I don’t know.”

Shy, perhaps? DeChurch’s son, Micky isn’t, and his sister, Nelae, also served as a director a few years ago.

“It’s awesome to carry on a tradition like this, because I think the parents are so proud,” Kim DeChurch said. “And Micky, I’m happy for him; he’s followed in my footsteps. He likes to entertain.”

She noted that despite serving as a Variety Show advisor, she didn’t serve among those who selected this year’s four emcees — but she did see his audition.

Mary Ann Baker said she just wanted to be a part of the show.

“At the time, I just wanted to be in the Variety Show, a part of the whole senior class,” said Baker, who, today, teaches in the DuBois Area School District in Sykesville. “I was excited to be anything. I don’t recall how we (with Blose) got together to audition for emcees.”

Baker’s son, Dane, said he’s watched past Variety Shows from the audience for years, waiting for his chance as a senior and a performer, which he will also be — on piano — in addition to serving as an emcee.

“I’ve been playing since I was little, and I always kind of thought, ‘I can do that in the Variety Show,” he said. “Every year, I was always, ‘I can’t wait to be in the Variety Show.’ It’s more like kind of showing what our class can do.”

Baker’s not the only one. Director Janie Depp-Hutchinson was a sophomore watching her older brother, Michael — dropping his pants and everything — as an emcee in 2010.

While some of her classmates sought the onstage spotlight in the 2012 Variety Show, Depp-Hutchinson said she wanted to serve as a director — which she does, along with Erika Bizousky, Kendall Neal and Quinton Weber — because she “wanted to work behind the scenes and tell people what to do.”

And as if the family connections don’t already run deep, there’s the case of senior Elana Curry, whose older brother — and her English teacher, whom she must refer to as “Mister” — is co-advisor Matt Curry.

What does she recall about her brother — 12 years her senior — serving as an emcee during his class’ Variety Show in 1999, when she was age six?

“That he was wearing one of my mother’s dresses,” said Elena, who will sing in the sketches “Angry Birds” and “Toddlers & Tiaras.”

“And he was wearing boxers,” she added.

Matt recalls seeing the video of the 1999 performance, “and I could hear her yelling in the show.

“It makes me feel nostalgic; so many great memories about our show,” he said. “And now she will have hers with her class.” 

Their middle sibling, Adam, also took part in his class’ Variety Show in 2001.

“It’s an honor, and just a wonderful thing to go through, and I knew it would be a lot of work,” Mary Ann Baker said about her Variety Show experience. And as for her son’s participation, she said, “I knew I would be providing lots of odds and ends.

“I suppose that’s why my lamp shade is missing today,” she added.

“It’s the best time of their lives, and it goes quick,” Mary Ann Baker said. “They work so hard, and at the end of it, they’re so proud. It’s a nice experience to go through. And believe me, it goes fast.”

VARIETY SHOW 2012

How does one explain sketches about Steve Jobs; the cafeteria; part-time jobs; the Spice Girls; Angry Birds; a “Cartoon Catastrophe;” and Bruno Mars — all in three nights?

Find out for yourself, as the Class of 2012 presents its Variety Show, “Hold on to the Memories,” starting at 7 p.m. tonight, and continuing Friday and Saturday, in the PAHS auditorium.

Tickets are available at the door. Proceeds will benefit the Margaret C. Boles Foundation and the seniors’ annual all-night party after graduation.

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