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Mutants bring Christmas spirit to Village Green

January 2, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

On Dec. 22, four unusual characters showed up at the Poland Village gazebo to perform a Christmas program for a crowd of about 35 family and friends. The event featured the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and was the first of what is hoped to become an annual event.

According to Raphael, a.k.a. Dan Buckler, it all started 15 years ago during the peak popularity of the Ninja Turtles.

"My brother and I found a VHS from the early 1990's that was a Turtles Christmas musical," Buckler said. "It was pretty bad, but it became a little tradition with a friend of mine, Michael Minotti, to watch that before every Christmas. And then about 10 years ago, Michael had the brilliant idea to go caroling as the Ninja Turtles. So that first year, we visited a few homes of family and friends and just sang songs from the original VHS. However, each year after that, we wrote new songs (many of them about the Turtles' favorite topic: pizza), until most of the songs that we were singing at homes were written by us."

Article Photos

Poland residents Chris Minotti (Donatello), Michael Minotti (Leonardo), Perry Alexandrides (Michelangelo), and Dan Buckler (Raphael) performed a special Christmas concert, turtle-style on Dec. 22.

The Ninja Turtle costumes the four men wore were homemade. Perry Alexandrides acquired the materials and drew the yellow abs on the sweat shirts to give them the perfect look.

The caroling continued until Christmas of 2017. Buckler said he had joke about performing the songs that had been written, so after Christmas that year, a permit was requested from Poland Village to use the gazebo on Dec. 22, 2018.

Leonardo, a.k.a. Michael Minotti, wrote a script that linked a lot of the songs Buckler wrote over the years and used a few of the old VHS songs.

"We came together over Thanksgiving to outline everything, invited our friends and family, and performed the musical on Dec. 22 in front of 30-35 people," Buckler said. "Chris Minotti cut and painted the set pieces (the NYC skyline and the manhole cover)."

No advertising was done this year and the event just went out to family and friends. Following the performance, everyone, including the Ninja Turtles, enjoyed hot chocolate, cookies made by Krista Minotti and Angela Alexandrides, and of course, pizza.

As for future performances, Buckler said his band of caroling warriors plan of coming back and doing it again. He said it will definitely be done again in 2019, but the location is not certain yet.

As for dressing the part and taking on the role, Buckler said it has brought one thing to the group.

"The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a very popular cartoon, comic book and movie franchise when we were growing up," he said. "It didn't inspire us to take up marshall arts, only to eat more pizza."



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