Derby Scouts Schedule Annual Variety Show

CONTRIBUTED Members of Housatonic Council Cub Scout Pack 3, Boy Scout Troop 3 and Venture Crew 33 will present their 94th Annual Scout Gang Show on May 12, 7:30PM at the Derby United Methodist Church, located near the Derby Green at the corner of 5th & Elizabeth streets in Derby.

Part vaudeville and part variety show, the longest running show of its kind has been performed by the Derby scouts annually on the same stage in the fellowship hall of the Derby United Methodist Church since 1922. Shows weren’t performed for 2 years during World War II.

Although the Derby show is the only Gang Show still performed in the United States, Scout Gang Shows are performed by Scout groups throughout the United Kingdom and former British colonies. Scout Gang Shows got their name from the saying “The Gang’s All Here.”

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A number of performers and members of the community credit the show with their first performance experience.

Award winning stage and screen performer Brian Dennehy, Shelton Aldermanic President John Anglace, Superbowl Champion Green Bay Packers Captain Bob Skoronski and Shelton’s Center Stage director Gary Scarpa are among the scouting alumni who performed in the show as youths under the direction of the late Scouting pioneer, Derby Hall of Fame member and Pack 3 Cubmaster Edmund D. Strang, who was the show’s driving force for 70 years.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan sent Strang a congratulatory letter commending the annual show as “Connecticut’s finest example of organized chaos”. Anglace is expected to attend the show and possibly perform a song, as he did 70 years ago, in the 1948 edition.

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Highlights of this year’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” themed show include “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Chorus Director Matthew Moran, “I’ve Got Spurs That Jingle Jangle Jingle” by Cub Ayden Santana and “Back in the Saddle Again” by Scout Anthony Sullivan. The director and interlocutor the past 24 years for the show is Troop 3 Scoutmaster Randy Ritter. Piano accompaniment is provided by Christian Tracz. Lighting and sound is under the direction of Troop 3 Committeeman Dominic Livoti.

The “Endmen” or joke tellers for the show include Troop 3 and Crew 33 members Michael McMahon, Michael Shea, Naveen Madivala, Charles Stankye IV, Alex Oleschuk and Zachary Thomas. Stankye and Moran are the 3rd generation of their families to perform in the show.

“Stooges” performing run on skits for the show are Pierce Nuenteufel, SkyLynn Hemstreet and Elliott Moscato. The Stooges are under the direction of Assistant Scoutmaster William McDonnell, Jr.

“This annual show has been performed by generations of scouts from the Valley going back to the 1920’s, and some of the jokes and songs we still use are from that period too”, Ritter stated. “Some year we’ll get around to contacting the Guinness World Record group to see if we qualify” Ritter added.

“We have fun with the show and don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we do feel the show helps in Scouting’s mission to build self confidence, and develop leadership in our Cubs, Scouts and Venturers” added Pack 3 Cubmaster Daniel Cyrul, who will be recognized during the show for 50 years of dedication to Scouting.

Special guests include Housatonic Council President Gary Parker, St. Margaret Mary Chorus Director Sarah Widomski, and Troop 3 Committeeman, Town Clerk and former Mayor of Derby, Marc Garofalo. Garofalo and Christian Tracz are expected to once again wow the crowd with their “dueling accordions” performance.

Tickets are available for $10 from Pack 3, Troop 3 and Crew 33 scouts, or by calling 203-732-0343.

A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Proceeds from the show assist scouts in attending Housatonic Cub Scout Day Camp, Boy Scout Summer Camp at the Edmund D. Strang Scout Reservation in Goshen and Scouts who have been selected to represent Troop 3 in Limerick, Ireland this summer.

Cub Scout Pack 3 Derby, founded in 1927 is the oldest Cub Scout Pack in the country. Pack 3 meets Mondays, 6:30PM at Derby United Methodist Church. Boy Scout Troop 3 Derby, founded in 1914, meets at Derby 2nd Congregational Church on Wednesdays at 7PM.

Co-Ed Venture Crew 33, founded in 1938, meets on Thursdays, 7PM at Derby 2nd Congregational Church. All three units are open for membership from youths throughout the Lower Naugatuck Valley.

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