4.1 C
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Show Sounds and feels like Christmas

Annual performance of holiday songs is a fundraiser for KidsAbility’s work with special-needs children

If an event that encompasses the songs of the yuletide season and the spirit of giving sounds just the thing for Christmas, you’re not alone in that assessment.

The Sounds of Christmas, the annual musical show in support of KidsAbility, is an idea that first came to director and producer Nicole Guse as a way of giving back to the organization that helped her son Joshua from an early age. KidsAbility plays a special role in Guse’s life as her son once attended for speech and occupational therapy from the time he was 18 months old until he was 5.

“I wanted to do something as a way to payback and give back to KidsAbility for all the help we have gotten from them. I don’t have a lot of money that I can give, but I do have talent and time,” she explained of the event’s origin.

Now the performance is heading into its seventh year as a fundraiser that gives all proceeds from the show back to KidsAbility, which supports children with special needs.

This year is extra important one for the charitable organization given the cuts in government funding, Guse notes.

“Shows like this are very important because it helps to recoup some of that money they have lost from their cutbacks.”

A cast of 29 members of all ages come together on stage to dance, sing, and play instruments to all the beloved songs of the Christmas holidays. In addition, each year Guse switches up the show by adding new songs – this time out, about two-thirds of the show is brand new she exclaims.

“There are certain numbers that we always keep in because they’re staples, but then I always change it up so we have new songs for people to hear and see.”

Singer and dancer Rebecca Perry of St. Jacobs is taking part in the performance for the seventh time, having started when she was nearly 10 years old. Now Perry will be joining many other returning performers on stage, making the experience even more appealing.

“The cast becomes sort of a family so everybody is close to each other,” said Perry, who, along with singing, also plays the ukulele, one of the many instruments that can be heard throughout the night.

There is also a four-piece professional band that accompanies the performers on stage, made up of Jim Clayton (piano), Steve Hogg (bass),  Sean Habermehl (drums), and Fred Hale of Heidelberg who plays guitar. Joining the musicians are seven professional adults who sing and dance on stage including Guse herself. Among them are also 17 young cast members who make up the rest of the performers.

The audience can expect a variety of music styles, says Guse, from fun music, serious music, and even songs that people might have not heard before.

“It’s a real family-style musical variety show. We try to hit something for everyone.”

 A chance to listen to some of your favourite Christmas tunes is only one of the perks to seeing local performers and musicians in action all while giving back to a local cause. “It’s a way for the community to come together to celebrate the season but also to give back to the community,” said Guse.

To date the show has been able to raise some $126,000 over the past six years for KidsAbility, which feels amazing, said Guse.

“Every year that I go in with the cheque from Sounds of Christmas I feel like Santa Claus, and that’s a wonderful feeling to be able to give back to these people who have helped us so much and helped my son.”

It is important for Guse to not only give back but to teach her kids and those performing the importance of contributing to the community.

“It’s different than just giving a donation – it’s not as personal as doing something that you really enjoy and being able to give back in that way,” said Perry of how it feels to help other kids at the organization.

The Sounds of Christmas will put on seven shows this year starting tomorrow (Friday) at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Waterloo Mennonite Brethren Church, 245 Lexington Rd., Waterloo.  Additional shows will run on November 23 at 2 p.m. and then next weekend from November 28-30, with shows at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults, $25 for those under the age of 18. Tickets can be bought online, by calling the box office at 519-502-8390, or in person at the KidsAbility office in Waterloo.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


An easy way to eat healthily, a good idea just now

By today I think we’re all wishing that our current situation was just one big elaborate April Fool’s joke. That being said it’s more important than ever to keep...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

Looking to do some research about the communities we serve? Browse through the years in our online archives.

Music in the time of coronavirus

An Elmira teen and his bandmates made an early release this week of their music in the form of a four-song EP...

Staying active is key for seniors

Such trips are definitely on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but four different groups of seniors got to take a journey back...

Elmira artist one of those feeling the “Bern”

After leaving 15 years in the advertising world behind him, Brent Schreiber set out on a new path, and followed his passion to...

Local universities benefit from $3.8 million in research funding

Local researchers got a boost last week in the form of $3.8 million in new funding from the province. The money will support...

Robin in the Hood Festival now auditioning performers, recruiting volunteers

What “started off as just a small group of people putting on a community event” has grown into an annual tradition, with the...

International Women’s Day marked in region by day- long event at CIGI

Marking the occasion in the region, the Marit Collective hosted the fifth annual International Women’s Day event at the Centre for International Governance Innovation...

Cancer battles aren’t fought alone

Community support for a local paramedic dealing with a cancer diagnosis surpassed its goal in a few short weeks. A...

Para hockey players took different paths to Team Canada

Putting on the sweater and going out onto the ice to represent Canada is both a point of pride and unifying moment for...
- Advertisement -