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A Very Bridge + Tunnel Christmas: A Rocking Holiday Concert at Towngate

WHEELING — Members of The Bridge + Tunnel Collective and some very special guests continue their annual holiday revue benefiting Wheeling-area neighbors who are especially vulnerable and in need at this time of year.

The third annual “A Very Bridge + Tunnel Christmas” takes place at 8 p.m. today, Dec. 20 at Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre.

A holiday revue for all ages, the concert will put audience members in a festive mood as multiple musicians take the stage, performing original pieces chock full of holiday themes. Plenty of holiday standards also make their way to the set list.

The annual concert serves as a fundraiser for a local community organization. The Bridge + Tunnel Collective notes that the proceeds from this year’s concert benefit NAMI, The National Alliance on Mental Illness, of greater Wheeling.

“We chose NAMI this year because in recent years we have lost a startling number of friends to mental illness and addiction. Many of those friends were made through playing music locally for the past 20 years and we understand the importance of the work NAMI does for our neighbors,” said Sean Decker, founding member of the Bridge + Tunnel Collective and frontman of Mr. Fancy Pants, which is anchoring the show.

“We at NAMI are very excited for this partnership and absolutely appreciate the help it will provide for our neighbors struggling with mental illness, especially at this time of year,” added Amy Gamble, executive director of NAMI Wheeling. “We’re also very excited to see this great lineup of local bands and performers.”

Along with proceeds from the show, in-kind donation items will also be collected on the night of the show and moved to NAMI and their area partners to directly help members of our community. Guests in attendance can bring small or large tarps, blankets, and warm winter socks.

For the third year in a row the show takes place at Towngate Theatre and Bridge + Tunnel could not be happier about the venue’s continued outstanding support.

“Tim Thompson, P.D. Gregg, and all of the representatives of Towngate Theatre have been incredibly generous with their time and resources. They supported us two years ago with our inaugural show, and have been even more proactive every year we’ve put it on, which is amazing considering all of the other responsibilities they bear throughout the holiday season,” said Matt Klempa, another founding member of the Bridge + Tunnel Collective.

Klempa, Mr. Fancy Pants’ drummer, continued, “The two organizations share the same primary goals: put on an amazing show and provide for those in need.”

This year’s revue lineup features: Mr. Fancy Pants, Michael Iafrate, Weird Lightning, Ananga Martin, The Pussyfooters, Zoe Buccella, Matt Heusel and Chelsey Keding.

In addition, Mario Muscar, member of Towngate’s own Left of Centre Improv Group and frequent player in Towngate productions over the past 20 years, will act as emcee for the show for the third straight year.

“This year’s showcase is exciting,” Decker said. “It should be a really fun night for a really great cause and we hope to see you all there.”

Tickets can be purchased at www.oionline.com or by calling 304-242-7700. Seating is limited. Adult beverages will be available for purchase. An after party will follow the show.

The show is part of Towngate’s Second Season and is sponsored by Main Street Bank. Towngate’s Second Season programming enhances Wheeling’s arts landscape with literary programming, live music, spoken word performances, improvisation and more. Programs often feature works by emerging and/or local authors, musicians, songwriters, playwrights and poets.

Part of the nonprofit Oglebay Institute, Towngate is located in Wheeling’s historic Centre Market District. Towngate is a cornerstone of creative life in Wheeling and serves as an entertainment destination for residents of Wheeling, the Upper Ohio Valley and beyond. People of all ages and backgrounds gather here to create and experience art onstage. Dozens of theatrical performances, ballets, concerts, films, exhibits, classes and more take place year-round.

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