Organizers of The Sounds of Christmas are celebrating a landmark year with their fifth annual production in support of KidsAbility.
Conceived and directed by Nicole Guse, The Sounds of Christmas is a multi-generational musical journey that takes audience members through the many styles of Christmas music, from traditional to country to gospel. There are six shows scheduled this weekend and next, all held at the Waterloo Mennonite Brethren Church.
The production came to fruition in 2013 as a platform to provide the community with a musical show while helping to raise awareness of the importance of KidsAbility.
Near and dear to Guse, KidsAbility has a special connection for her through her son Joshua who attended the charity for both speech and occupational therapy when he was young.
“I put the show together as a way to give back to KidsAbility on a grander scale because my son attended there from the time he was 18 months old until he was the age of 5 and so I wanted to do something to give back to them more than just a small donation,” Guse explained. “And so I thought, ‘ah, my background is in music.’ I have been in the entertainment business for more than 30 years, so this was a way that I could give my time and talent and create something for the community that could give back to them.”
KidsAbility Centre for Child Development serves children and youth from birth to school exit with special needs, providing therapy and support. Although partially funded through the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, donations raised annually allow for KidsAbility to help serve more children. Still, there are currently more than 900 children waiting for services through the organization.
The event has raised some $85,000 in its past four years. This year, she says, the concert should push them over the $100,000 mark raised for the children’s charity.
The show consists of many different styles of Christmas music, as Guse explains there is something for everyone – it is a show for all ages.
Featuring traditional favourites like Jingle Bells and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, this year will also feature new tunes such as “Let’s Hear it for Mrs. Claus” and “Christmas Wish”.
“The show changes every year, [but] it is always a Christmas show. It is a show for all ages – it is a show for the whole family,” said Guse of this year’s production. “It is musical – it has signing, it has traditional songs that everyone will know, and it has some new songs that we hope will become new favourites.”
To make it a multi-generational musical Christmas show, the cast is laced with eight professional singers, a four-piece professional band and 17 young performers ages 8-18 that make up the youth chorus.
Among those young performers are Marilena Mohan from Conestogo and Rebecca Perry from St. Jacobs.
“Both of those girls have been in the show for all five years of The Sounds of Christmas – they are alumni coming back and they return every year,” she explained of the two. “They both are singers in the show. Marilena is also a step dancer and a fiddler in the show. Rebecca is one of my lead singers and she is a square dancer and dancer and choreographer.”
A six-show series, The Sounds of Christmas runs Friday (November 24) at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., and the following Friday (December 1) again at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and the final show December 2 at 2 p.m. at the Waterloo Mennonite Brethren Church, 245 Lexington Rd., Waterloo. Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for those under the age 18. Find more information at www.guseproductions.com.