Annual show is family affair, onstage and off

By Lynn R. Parks

The Mears family is back. After a hiatus of a couple of years, Rex Mears, Seaford, will again take to the stage as part of the annual Lions Club variety show. Accompanying him will be his son Chip and his son-in-law, Jon Hearn. "The Mears family goes back almost to the beginning of the show," said Robin Marine, Lions Club member and past variety show director. This is the club's 62nd show. "They have been gone for a couple of years and the club is happy to have them back. They are very talented." Mears, who joined the club in 1968, was a part of the show's chorus that year. The next year, he, his uncle Jack Mears and his brother Bill teamed up to perform a skit. They had several repeat performances and when Jack and Bill stopped performing, Rex joined George Sapna, Carlisle Windley and Bob Wheatley in annual spoofs of city goings-on. Mears has not appeared in a show in a couple of years. This year, he was considering teaming up with Sapna, Wheatley and Windley again when his son, Chip, surprised him. "He had never sung in public in his life," Mears said. "But we had a wedding party, and he sang. I was amazed." Chip told his dad that he wanted to perform for the annual Lions Club show. Then Mears' son-in-law, Jon Hearn, said that he too was interested. With the help of Mears' wife Sharon and his daughters Karen and Kim, the trio came up with a song and a skit, the particulars of which Mears is reluctant to reveal before the performance. But he will say that the family has "had a ball" in their creation. "I would rather do this than eat," he said. "I like to have fun, I like to laugh and I like to make people laugh. This is a chance to go out on stage, act stupid and try to get a laugh. And the fellowship and camaraderie and then the comments about stuff we have done make it all worthwhile."

The Mears will not be the only family act to take to the stage this year. Marine and his 5-year-old daughter, Erin, will perform "The Good Shepherd," a gospel song. The dad in the duo might be a little bit nervous come curtain time. But the daughter, a veteran of six church performances, will be cool. "She gets less nervous than I do," Marine said. Marine will also play a tour guide in a skit featuring Asa Peugh and Rob Harman as tourists who have stumbled on Seaford's River Walk. "We are kind of poking fun at the city," Marine said. The skit ends with a song, a adaptation of the Kingston Trio's "Desert Pete" called "Mayor Dan." Marine, who has been a member of the club for six years and has performed in six shows, said that the annual endeavor is great fun for the club members. "It is something that the whole club gets involved in," he added. "Everyone participates in one way or another, either on stage or backstage." It is fun for the audience; "a good, clean show for the whole family," he said. And it is all for a worthwhile cause. According to director Dale Fields, the club hopes to make at least $5,000 from this year's show. With that money, the club hands out scholarships, contributes to vision research through the international Lions Foundation, pays for eyeglasses and eye examinations and contributes to the Seaford Mission, Little League and the Seaford District Library. It also helps Associated Charities distribute baskets at Christmas. Fields said that outstanding in this year's show will be its musical acts, including the chorus and the five-member band. "We will have a variety of music and the performers are all very talented," he said. "I have been impressed by the talented group we have this year." Benny Hurley, long-time Lion, will perform for the 51st time in a variety show. The closing number, as has become traditional, will be performed by the three men Mears once performed with: Wheatley, Windley and Sapna. Annual show is family affair, onstage and off

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