One hundred young people from 15 different countries will be in Grand Island for seven days, volunteering and performing short shows at the Nebraska State Fair, all leading up to one big performance at Grand Island Senior High.
Up With People is making a return to Grand Island.
Members of the advance team are already in town making preparations for the musical group’s arrival.
Anne-Marie Brandstotter of Belgium/Austria, Lorena Diaz of Mexico and Juliette Ibarrondo of Belgium have performed with the group before, and are now traveling weeks ahead of the cast to secure host families and volunteer opportunities for the group.
Diaz has been to Nebraska before, and Ibarrondo performed with the group in Grand Island last year. They are both excited to be back in the state.
“This whole concept of the State Fair, I’m so excited for the cast to experience because it’s a very American thing,” said Ibarrondo. “Nebraska has so much interesting stuff. We don’t have those big fairs, and so it was a great experience for me to be immersed in all of it.”
Brandstotter said this is her first time in Nebraska, and she has already decided she wants to come back and visit because of the people she has met so far.
One job the advance team has is to find beds for all of the cast members, which can sometimes prove to be a difficult task, according to the team members.
Diaz said the team has been in Grand Island for two weeks, and they already have 30 beds for cast members, all of which are coming from those who hosted cast members last year.
“I think this visit to Grand Island is going to be even better than it was last year,” said Diaz. “We’re excited for it.”
Another thing Up With People does is volunteer in every community they visit.
So far, according to the advance team, Up With People will be volunteering at the State Fair for one day, working with Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, Hope Harbor, Central Nebraska Humane Society and hopefully more organizations throughout the week.
The cast will also be performing 20-minute shows at the State Fair as they did last year.
The advance team said the cast will also put on workshops in schools and work with kids to spread their positive messages throughout the community.
Cast members Quinn of Bermuda and Romane of Belgium are currently in Denver rehearsing with the cast, but they are excited to visit Nebraska.
“I’m excited to visit the State Fair,” said Romane. “I’ve never been to one before.”
Quinn is excited be immersed in the diverse culture the United States has to offer.
“I’ve never been to the U.S. before, so I’m really excited,” Quinn said. “We will be showcasing different cultures and hopefully will have an impact.”
Brandstotter said that the team is still in need of beds for cast members.
“Host families will provide breakfast and dinner and limited transportation,” Brandstotter said.
She said host families will get one whole day to spend with the member they host and two complimentary tickets for the show.
Up With People will be in Grand Island from Aug. 26 through Sept. 2 with the big show taking place at Grand Island Senior High at 7 p.m. on Aug. 31.