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Singer, Alumna Debbie Gibson Visits Calhoun

Singer/songwriter Debbie Gibson and Students thumbnail215601

Singer/songwriter Debbie Gibson, a Calhoun High School alumna, recently returned to her Merrick roots and visited the On Tour Program students as they prepared for their spring production, “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” 

Gibson was on hand to film a portion of an upcoming CBS television show, “Secret Celebrity Renovation,” according to Sal Salerno, director of the On Tour Company.  An aspect of the show is for the celebrity to return to their hometown and reminisce about their years growing up.The episode is scheduled to air sometime this summer. 

“Many of the kids only know her from what I've told them but many of their parents were big fans,” Salerno added. “The kids had a great time talking with her and asking and answering questions.” 

Gibson was Salerno’s former student, appearing as Hodel in “Fiddler on a Roof” when she was a sophomore in the 1985-86 school year. She wrote music for “A Midsummer Night's Dream” as a junior in the 1986-87 school year, as well as taught the girls the vocals and created the multi-track arrangements, he said. 

While still at Calhoun, Gibson achieved platinum-record success, including five top 10 hits, while still in high school. She went on to attend prom and graduation in 1988. 

“Over the years, she has been very magnanimous, welcoming OTC students backstage at ‘Les Misérables,’ ‘Grease,’ ‘Beauty’ and the Beast’ and ‘Cabaret,’” Salerno added. “She spent over an hour with the group after ‘Cabaret’ answering many questions.” 

In 2018, Gibson even arranged to give OTC a new song for their then production of “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” 

Date Added: 4/4/2022

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