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L.A. Beat

Huron Carole brings Christmas spirt to Lethbridge food banks

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  While the weather outside was frightful, the Southminster United Church was full of warm fuzzies, love and peaceful thoughts, Dec. 6 as Tom Jackson brought the  Huron Carole to Lethbridge to raise e a lot of money for local food banks.Tom Jackson shows the love with the Huron Carole, Dec. 6. Photo by Richard Amery
 They had at least 600 people filling the venerable church.

I’m a pretty equal mix of the Grinch and Scrooge when it comes to Christmas related activities and concerts, but the Huron Carole melted even my heart.

 What I like the most about host Tom Jackson is how he makes me feel about myself. He welcomed a close to 600 strong crowd with open arms and talked to them as if each and every one of them were one of his closest friends.

He opened up by welcoming everybody and thanking them profusely for supporting the food banks.

“And don’t forget that I love you,” he told the enraptured crowd before playing a couple intimate numbers on guitar.

One More Girl entertaining with the Huron Carole. Photo by Richard AmeryAll of the performers including Shannon Gaye, Beverley Mahood, One More Girl and George Canyon got to play solo sets backed by One More Girl’s band to begin the show including one of their hits after which they told the story of their favourite Christmas story, followed by their favourite Christmas Carol followed by one of their newer songs.

Shannon Gaye played the first set of sultry jazz beginning with a sexy ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ and joked about George Canyon wearing something that could only be described as a beaver pelt on his head. He would come out in the second set wearing said beaver pelt, which everybody including Tom Jackson tried on.

Beverley Mahood was incredible, singing beautiful pop country and talking about getting her first record player for one of her early Christmases and a couple 7 inch records including Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Christmas,’ which lead to her singing it.

Beverly Mahood dances to Tom McKillip's saxophone solo. Photo by Richard Amery

Bandleader Tom McKillip played a hot saxophone solo on one of the songs. Jackson emerged from one of the side doors to introduce One More Girl and praised the band including bandleader and  the girls’ father Tom before talking about watching them grow up singing.

One More Girl were next, bringing even more pop and gorgeous vocal harmonies to the event as  sisters Britt and Carly McKillip harmonized. Carly kicked off her shoes as she played the keyboards while singing while her sister danced and sang one of their hits, a carol and a new single ‘Love Like Mine.’

Jackson returned from he other side of the stage, wearing a spangled Santa hat to talk about  George Canyon, then retrieved Britt McKillip’s shoes.

Even Scrooge enjoyed the Huron Carole, Dec. 6. Photo by Richard AmeryCanyon talked about his early Christmases and a lot about his family, noting he and his wife had been together for 20 years and dedicated his hit ‘I Believe In Angels’ to his children. He then sang ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,’ and a brand new ballad called ‘Slow Dance,’ which the crowd loved.
 He talked about his Christian upbringing and ended George Canyon playing with the Huron Carole. Photo by Richard Amery the first set with ‘O Holy Night.’

 After a brief intermission, Scrooge made an appearance on stage to observe how far the food banks can stretch cash donations and observed the Rotary Club’s annual reading of ‘A Christmas Carol’  would return next year.

 During  the intermission Jackson observed the doors to the tour bus had frozen shut because of the brutal chill which may have locked Canyon inside. He may have been joking, but quite possibly wasn’t as it was that cold out.

So Jackson welcomed everybody else back to the stage. They proceeded to sing pretty much every Christmas carol in the book which showcased some lovely vocal harmonies. Shannon Gaye stood out with  gorgeous jazz numbers.

Shannon Gaye opened the show with some jazz. Photo by Richard Amery
 And while I usually can’t stand Christmas carols, two of these versions stood out for me — ‘Little Drummer Boy’ and an angelic version of ‘Carol of the Bells.’

Canyon played a fourth Christmas carol in his set, which was a good thing as he was barely in the second set at all which featured everybody else telling stories and harmonizing together like angels on their favourite Christmas carols. But they had some unusual numbers too. Canyon added a touch of Celtic music reflecting his roots growing up in Pictou, Nova Scotia.

 In between acts, the always affable Tom Jackson appeared out of pretty much every door on the Southminster Church stage and told a story, a joke and thanked everyone for coming out and supporting the local food banks.
Canyon returned for the end of the set as the group got the crowd to sing ‘Silent Night’ together before  calling it a night with everybody going into the crowd shaking hands and wishing everybody a Merry Christmas.

— By Richard Amery L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:32 )  
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