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Natick’s jingle bell run raises funds for service council

Colleen Phelps (left) and Kathy Landry are preparing for next Sunday’s Natick Jingle Bell Run.

On a whim three years ago, Colleen Phelps of Natick invited her fellow members of the Suburban Striders Running Club to join in a holiday-themed fun run through her town. When 45 runners showed up, she knew she had the makings of an annual event.

This year’s Natick Jingle Bell Run will take place next Sunday at 10 a.m. The event, which will benefit the Natick Service Council, includes raffles featuring items donated by local businesses, a visit from Santa, and prizes for top female and male finishers and most festive attire.

Last year, the event drew 300 runners - 60 percent of whom were under 16 - and raised $2,500. This year’s goal, according to Phelps, is to attract 500 runners and raise $5,000.


The 2-mile race is cosponsored by two running clubs: the Natick Police Chase Team and Natick Fit Girls, which Phelps helps coach alongside Kathy Landry of Natick. The noncompetitive organization promotes a healthy and active lifestyle for girls in the fourth through sixth grades through regular exercise, reading, and community service in a supportive team environment.

Phelps said she is continually inspired by the girls’ increased self-esteem and confidence over each six-week period in which they train to run a 5K. She is also amused that at the Jingle Bell family fun run, young participants may wear an elf hat or antlers, while adults don elaborate costumes, such as last year’s Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Each preregistered runner is given jingle bells to tie to their shoelaces.

“Even if you hop, skip, and jump for two miles,’’ she said, “you’ll get it done and have a great time.’’

The run begins and ends at Brown Elementary School, 1 Jean Burke Drive. The entry fee is $10, or $5 for children 5 and younger.


For more details, visit www.natickjinglebellrun.com.

DANCING WITH TRADITION: When Zion Sun Harris of Holliston was 3 years old, his mothers, Stacey and Jessie Harris, enrolled him in a basketball class, but he cried. Next they put him in a swim class, but he didn’t want to get in the pool.

So they tried a dance class.

“He saw those tap shoes,’’ Stacey Harris recalled, “and that was it.’’

Now 11, Zion is playing the roles of Fritz and a partygoer in 13 of the Boston Ballet’s 40 performances of “The Nutcracker’’ this month at the Boston Opera House. He is one of more than 250 young dancers in the production, which is in its final year featuring the set and costumes that have been in use since 1995.

The sixth-grader at Charles River School in Dover has performed in productions of “The Nutcracker’’ at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick for last six years, but this is his first time with the Boston Ballet. He attended the Boston Ballet’s summer dance program in Newton for two years, and started at the Boston Ballet School this fall.

Zion dances five days a week, and plans to audition for the Boston Ballet’s preprofessional program in the spring. He said it is his dream to perform alongside professional dancers, and wants to inspire boys in the “The Nutcracker’’ audience to try ballet.


“I hope they enjoy’’ the show, he said, “but I also hope they appreciate the dancing and all the hard work that was put in it.

“Dancing is very athletic and challenging, but it’s a lot of fun.’’

For ticket information, call 617-695-6955 or visit www.bostonballet.org.

CELEBRATING MAGGIE: Since 1980, Berklee College of Music professor Maggie Scott of Lexington has hosted Jazz Vocal Night, an annual student recital.

On Thursday night, five of her notable former students - Antonia Bennett, Lalah Hathaway, Robin McKelle, Esperanza Spalding, and Nadia Washington - will return to pay tribute to her.

Scott has performed as a jazz pianist, vocalist, and recording artist for six decades. She was the first woman elected to the executive board of the Boston Musicians’ Association, Local 9-535 in the American Federation of Musicians.

“I am truly honored and overwhelmed that this concert is happening,’’ Scott said. “The recognition for my love of jazz and my work with the students, I feel I am being appreciated and respected for what I do and teach. That is a great feeling.’’

“Celebrating Maggie Scott: 30 Years of Jazz Vocal Night’’ will begin at 8:15 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave. in Boston.

For more information, call 617-747-2261 or go online to www.berkleebpc.com.


CAMP CHAMPIONS: Lincoln resident Jeff Hacker, director of Camp Cedar in Casco, Maine, was the event chairman of the American Camp Association New England reception last month honoring Eliot and June Tatelman of Boston for founding and running Camp Miracles and Magic, a summer camp for children with HIV and AIDS.

The Tatelmans, known best as members of the family behind Jordan’s Furniture, were honored at ACA New England’s inaugural Camp Champions Celebration, a sold-out gathering held on Nov. 2 at Fenway Park.

Based in Lexington, ACA New England accredits and oversees nearly 400 camps in the region.

People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cantrell@ globe.com.