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Yankee Darlings playing in HEA Christmas concert

By Ben Rodgers
Staff Writer

ASHWAUBENON – Happily Ever After is doing something different this year for its annual concert.

The lifetime care facility for animal companions (HEA) is hosting Merry Christmas Darlings, a concert by the Yankee Darlings at 7 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the Ashwaubenon Performing Arts Center.

The Yankee Darlings were formerly known as Manditori, a duo of singers originally from this area.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for Happily Ever After to bring the community together to share its message and highlight its work,” said Marcus Reitz, branding and development for HEA.

The animal sanctuary was started in an Ashwaubenon garage by Amanda Reitz.

Now HEA has a barn in Marion, an animal health center on Holmgren Way, and thanks to a generous building donation, a facility on Fox Heights Lane in Ashwaubenon.

At any given time the facilities care for roughly 200 animals. This is done through the help of nearly 170 volunteers who put in a combined 25,000 hours of volunteer work per year.

The goal of the Dec. 8 concert is not only fundraising but also friend raising, Reitz said.

“We want to continuously work toward our vision where the life of every companion animal matters,” Reitz said.

In order continue to strive toward that vision HEA is in need of foster homes, additional volunteers and donations, not to mention people wanting to adopt an animal.

Reitz said people can learn more about HEA and how to help at the show.

The Encore Show Choir from Ashwaubenon High School will be caroling before the show in the lobby. The event itself is emceed by WBAY anchor Cami Rapson, with of course country music from the Yankee Darlings.

“We believe in that mission to our core. Having rescued all of our animals and seeing how much joy they have brought to our lives is the reason we do this. For every animal that doesn’t have a home and wouldn’t without HEA,” said Mandi Anderson, one half of Yankee Darlings, in an email interview. “For the anxious person who needs to feel the comfort of an animal. For the person in a hospital that needs an animal’s love. That is why we come back each year. The money we raise goes directly back into impacting the lives of animals and people everywhere.”

The duo also practices what they preach. Anderson has three cats and two dogs and Moussaed has two dogs and two cats.

For the Nashville musicians coming back to Green Bay for a good cause is a celebration in itself.

“Green Bay will always be our hometown. There is something about the people there unlike anywhere else we have played,” Moussaed said. “We love to see fans we have seen in the crowd since we were 16. It makes us feel very blessed.”

It’s the first time the duo will play country Christmas music here.

“It is benefiting such an important asset to the Green Bay community and surrounding areas. Plus you get to listen to Christmas classics,” Anderson said. “This concert would make a great date night or family night. It’s the perfect combination of having fun and giving back at the same time. How often do you get to do that?”

Tickets for the show are $25 and can be purchased at HEA on Fox Heights Lane in Ashwaubenon from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can also be purchased online at ticketstar.com.

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