The international cast of Up with People will sing, dance and couch surf their way through Durango this August for the fourth time.
The Denver-based nonprofit organization allows high school graduates between the ages of 17 and 29 to tour the world while performing, completing community service and staying with host families in each city along the way.
The group, which last visited Durango in 2009, will perform its two-hour musical show A Song for the World on Aug. 19 and 20 at the Community Center Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.
Its a very vibrant, energetic and colorful show, said Up with People Promotional Manager Hygeia Chi.
Students in the organization take part in either six-month or yearlong tours where they visit multiple countries and continents.
In each city, cast members stay with host families who provide a place to sleep and local transportation along with breakfasts and dinners, Chi said.
Chi herself stays with host families for up to six weeks, promoting and preparing for each leg of the tour.
The program allows cast members to get a feel for the community, while sharing their own international experiences and traditions, she said.
The group, which currently is seeking families to host cast members in Durango, already has found several volunteers.
People in Durango are closely linked to each other, Chi said. Thats part of the reason we were able to find 26 beds right away. We started by calling alumni, and they helped spread the word.
There currently are 20 Up with People alumni based in Durango, and Megan Gaugn, a member of the 2011 cast, will be the 21st, Chi said.
Alumni and sponsors such as Mercury Payments/Mercury Gives, M. Leeder Construction and Durango Dermatology, which is owned by Gaugns family, helped make Up with Peoples visit possible, Chi said.
During one day of the casts weeklong stay in Durango, members will complete a community-service project. The group, which still is considering possible local projects, has worked with organizations such as Trails 2000 in past Durango stops.
Up with People also helps raise money for each city along its tour. At each stop, a local beneficiary is chosen to receive proceeds from ticket sales to the show. The group still is considering beneficiaries for this years Durango stop, Chi said.
Its really uplifting for the students, learning to respect society and always giving back, she said.
The goal for the Up with People cast, which currently is in Denver training, is to unite people while celebrating their individual cultures, she said.