CLEARWATER – (Dec 11, 2006) – More than 400 children joined The Eckerd family on Sunday, Dec. 10 for a special performance of the Nutcracker performed at Ruth Eckerd Hall as a tribute to celebrate the life of Ruth Eckerd.
Memories were created for the packed audience of mostly children as snowflake ballerinas whirled gracefully through a snowstorm and they watched colorful dancing sugar plums and a host of other characters.
The children were from a variety of youth organizations that Mrs. Eckerd supported. Part of the audience included counselors and more than 100 youth from throughout the state who are at Eckerd Youth Alternatives programs, which serve at-risk and troubled youth.
All of Ruth Eckerd’s seven children attended. Ruth Eckerd passed away in July, and Jack Eckerd passed away in 2004.
“Many of these kids knew my Mom,” said Nancy Eckerd-Hart. “We hope that this will help with a sense of closure. What better way to celebrate her memory than in the hall my Dad named for her at a performance of one of her favorite shows? Mom took all of us and her grandchildren to this performance every year.”
The Florida Orchestra accompanied the Miami City Ballet in the George Balanchine choreographed production.
“My mother loved the arts and she loved children,” Jim Swann told the audience.
Adding to the festive atmosphere prior to the performance were carolers and musicians performing holiday songs. Guests wrote personal messages in Ruth’s memory on small Christmas ornament snow angels that were given to the Eckerd family.
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