By: RACHAEL PITTMAN
With the holidays coming up, it is time to enjoy festivities with family and friends while also giving back. The Teddy Bear concert at IU South Bend will be held at 7 p.m. December 11in the Northside Auditorium to have fun, celebrate and help people in need.
Marvin Curtis, dean of the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts, started the annual event six years ago as a celebration of the holidays and a way to give back to the community. Instead of buying a ticket at the booth, the community is encouraged to bring a teddy bear to pay for their admission.
“Please bring a new bear, not your old teddy bear,” Curtis said on the phone. Without a bear, the cost to attend is $12.
This is a family-friendly event. Thanks to Karen Pager the event now partners with Build-A-Bear Workshop. Barry the Bear, their mascot, comes to the event to take pictures with the kids, Curtis said. Karen Pager is also involved with the choreography for this concert.
“We have them put the teddy bears on the table, and it is just a mound of these teddy bears,” Curtis said. This mound last year totaled nearly 600 teddy bears. In previous years, they have been able to give at least 500.
The bears go to local organizations such as South Bend’s Center for the Homeless. They are often given as gifts to children for parents who cannot afford to buy presents. “A homeless vet got a bear. The bear was his comfort,” Curtis said.
In previous years they have also donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities along with others. So Curtis hopes that they can have other benefit groups to donate to for this event in coming years.
The groups performing this year include orchestra, tap kick-line, jazz dance, African Dance Troup, gospel choir and other song and dance groups. The last performance is a combined piece featuring choir and orchestra with the famous 12 Days of Christmas piece, Curtis said.
“We do it as a chance to give back to the community, the special spirt of the holiday season with the kick line with the bears. It’s a cute thing, but a chance to celebrate and give back,” Curtis said.
Teresa Berger is a senior at IU South Bend. She performs in the IU South Bend Tap Kick Line. They have been practicing three times a week since the start of the semester. She will perform in the 12 Days of Christmas finale. In the finale, she will be the partridge.
“It’s been exciting leading up to the end of the semester,” she said. “It’s always been exciting to support IUSB arts, and then the community as well.”
She also said it is exciting to finish her education and time here with a “big bang.”
Students are currently rehearsing for the show. Anyone who wants to come to this event can come, just bring a teddy bear.