Show benefits ESCAPE Parent-Child Center

April 03, 2005|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -By the time the curtain fell Saturday at the 18th annual Comedy & Magic Spectacular, the Exchange Club of Chambersburg had raised $480,000 net for the ESCAPE Parent-Child Center of Franklin County.

"This year it will be about $32,000," show chairperson Rick Mackey said.

The ESCAPE Center's mission is to work with parents to replace abusive behavior patterns with nonabusive parenting skills. One of its goals is to prevent children from becoming the victims of abuse and neglect.

The show, which included magic, music, comedy and juggling, showcases nationally known professional magicians.

Producer, emcee and local resident R.G. Smith finds the acts through his membership in the Society of American Magicians, the world's oldest magic society. Smith is executive show producer for the group's annual convention.


This year's performers at The Capitol Theatre Center were Danny Cole, a Los Angeles magician who created and starred in the NBC show THEM (Totally Hidden Extreme Magic); Bob Bloenk, a former high school vice principal from Michigan who performs musical comedy; Stephen Bargatze, a comedy magician who presents his inspirational program to more than 60,000 students a year; and Axel S., a young German juggler who performs an act called "Incredible Rock-n-Roll Hardcore Diabolo" to high-energy music. A diabolo is an hourglass-shaped object spun on a string attached to two sticks.

At the invitation of the Exchange Club, the Drama Club of Chambersburg Area Middle School presented songs and dances from the play "Friday Knight Fever" before each of the two performances. The 65-member group had performed the play several times in school and for the public, and did so well that they deserved to go on and do it again, said their director, Jeannie Bordlemay.

Alice Rahauser, house manager and Exchange Club past president said Smith works a year or more in advance to bring in quality acts for the show. The Exchange Club is made up of business people dedicated to serving children and parents in Franklin County, she added.

The ESCAPE Parent-Child Center offers a Parent Education Program, Parent Aide Program, New Mom's Home Visitation Program and a Parents Anonymous Support Group, all as a partner in the prevention, intervention and treatment of child abuse.

The ESCAPE Parent-Child Center is at 42 Black Ave. in Chambersburg. The center's hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The center may be reached at 717-263-7707 or by e-mail at All inquiries are kept confidential.

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