In 1986, Lisa Campos-Dewitt began teaching neighborhood kids to dance in her backyard, a hobby that would become a life-long vocation.
Earth Angels will mark its 30th year with a July 16 performance on the Meijer Kids Zone stage at noon, immediately after the Greater Farmington Founders Festival Grand Parade. The 26 members, boys and girls ranging in age from 8 to 18, will perform dance routines to “Oldies” from the 1950s and 1960s, with authentic costumes from the era, all choreographed by Campos-Dewitt. The show is fast moving, comedic at times and involves a lot of audience participation, enjoyed by young and old.
Campos-Dewitt’s goal for three decades has been to teach kids how to give back with just a song and a dance, and her passion and dedication has drawn not only kids, but their parents, into the Earth Angels family. Bonnie Murphy got involved in late 1990’s when her then 9-year-old daughter, Cari, joined. She stayed on with the group long after her daughter left, and helps wherever she can.
“It is a magical combination of parent volunteers, Lisa’s donation of time and talent, very dedicated boys and girls and a lot of sweat equity that keeps the group going,” Murphy said. “We are self-funded, so all of the revenue that the group brings in goes towards replenishing worn-out costumes, props and sound equipment. The group members are taken on a trip after the summer performing season in appreciation for their hard work.”
“Lisa’s method is tried and true,” said Steve Palizzi, father of members Nick and Sophia. “The older members mentor the younger ones and help them learn the routines. There is a bond that is created in this process and they all look after each other as a result.
“People like Lisa are few and far between,” Murphy added. “She has devoted the last thirty years of her life for the benefit of others.”
The Earth Angels’ 30th anniversary also marks the introduction of the Earth Angel Juniors, comprised of kids who are younger than the group’s regular members. Campos-Dewitt’s son, Marco, and daughter, Sofi, have joined, as has Murphy’s granddaughter, Lana.
“The group has truly come full circle now,” Campos-Dewitt said, “and hopefully the meaning and the message will carry on for generations to come.”
The Meijer Kids Zone stage is located in Riley Park at Grand River and Grove Street in downtown Farmington. For more information about the group, visit theearthangels.org.