Five, six, seven, eight ... Triple Threat takes the stage

Jul 29, 2021

In an otherwise quiet room at Smith Mills Congregational Church, the jukebox was rocking the last two weeks of July, thanks to participants in Camp Triple Threat .

The camp united youngsters of various ages and experience levels to become “triple threats’’ by singing, dancing and acting their way into the spotlight.

Their two weeks of work culminated in a grand finale production “Rock The Jukebox,’’ which relates through music and narration the history of the jikebook, said Maureen Huberman, camp director and founder.

This story can’t be told, of course, without lively, danceable music, from the 1950s to the 1980s, including “Shout,’’ “Land of A Thousand Dances’’ and “Higher and Higher. ‘’

The final performance was live streamed  so that families could watch. An in-person performance was nixed because of Covid but Huberman said she hopes the live show, with applause and direct reaction, will return at next July’s camp.

Huberman started the camp two summers ago to share her love for the arts with area youths. The camp returned this year after a summer off because of Covid.

“The goal is to produce a show while having a good time,’’ Huberman said.

Another goal, she said, was to make the experience welcoming to everyone, regardless of how much, or little, performing experience they have.

“Everyone starts off on a level playing field,’’ she said, because the production number is new to all campers. 

All campers share the spotlight equally, she said. “No one has a lead role,’’ she said. “Everybody gets their special moment to shine.’’ 

The camp represents a dream come true for Huberman, who graduated from UMass Dartmouth after majoring in opera performance. She said she always wanted to create a space for young people to experience the joy of performing in an atmosphere where fun was encouraged.

The camp allowed her to “tap into my passion’’ and share it with the young campers during the summer. In the school year, she teaches at Lincoln School in New Bedford.

She hopes campers will be bitten by the “theatre bug’’ by the time the session ends.

She also wants the experience to be “confidence-building’’ because of what they have learned. “Maybe they can bring that confidence back to the classroom and have the confidence to raise their hand,’’ she said.

Participants gave the camp five stars.

“I just love to sing and dance and act,’’ said Madeline Pavao, 9, a student at DeMello School. “I’m doing all the things I love.’’

“Every time I come here to camp I feel happy,’’ said Gabby Morency, 7, a Quinn School student. “Coz I really like theater.’’

“The dancing is really fun,’’ said Nina Silva, 8, who attends Friends Academy. “I like practicing the show.’’ 

With the curtain closed on another summer season, Huberman applauds the bond that developed among the participants.

“Most didn’t know each other’’ when camp began, she said. “By the end of this, we have a little family.’’