KAGAWONG – Last Saturday’s annual Christmas concert in Kagawong offered an evening of laughter and entertainment to a packed Park Centre and certainly demonstrated why this event has become a local tradition. Christmas stories, videos, comedic skits and song showcased some amazing local talent and raised funds for both the Billings Library and the Old Mill Heritage Centre.
Mike Coomes and Jill Ferguson were back as co-masters of ceremony and welcomed guests. “You’re excited to be here,” Mr. Coomes began. “We’ll soon change that,” he joked before introducing the first act of the evening. Christmas elf Mary Buie warmed up the crowd with a tale that included audience participation full of sleigh bells, hammer taps, reindeer snort, ho ho hos and several shout-outs to local businesses.
Next up, “for your viewing pleasure and possibly their embarrassment,” was a fun video featuring township employees, a snowman and an outhouse. This was followed by Mr. Coomes telling a series of Christmas jokes that brought groans and laughter (‘Who delivers presents to pets? Santa Paws!’).
Arik Theijsmeijer provided the first musical interlude with a rich rendition of ‘I Wonder as I Wander.’ The popular Gail Los returned to much laughter with her lip-synched versions of Patsy Cline’s ‘Crazy’ and ‘Stand by Your Man.’
Ed Burt, who tells a tale like few others can, told a funny story about his journey into healthy eating before launching into an old time tall tale involving a squid jigger. Mr. Burt then wished everybody peace (“for peace is not an abstract goal but grows within the human soul”) and a Merry Christmas.
Perennial favourites the Wilson Sisters performed a skit they called “The tale of the lost tail,” inspired by A.A. Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh. Eeyore was comically morose as ever, while Christopher Robin, Piglet and Owl recited poems from A.A. Milne’s ‘When We Were Young.’ Eeyore’s tail was eventually discovered in Pooh’s hunny bucket.
The very talented Bill and Cia Savage were on next, backed by Jamie Ward on bass guitar. The Savages sang a beautiful version of the Bing Crosby-David Bowie duet, ‘The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth,’ followed by an equally emotional version of ‘Hallelujah.’ They finished their set with ‘California Dreaming,’ dedicating the song to Island snowbirds. The Savages are fairly recent newcomers to Kagawong. “Who wants them to stay?” Mr. Coomes asked to loud cheers from the audience.
Patsy Cline herself (as played by Jill Ferguson) took the stage, providing a hilarious version of ‘I’ve Got Your Picture.’ Ms. Ferguson was followed by a performance of the talented Island Singers and then a lovely duet of ‘What Child is This?’ sung by Chris and Heather Theijsmeijer.
Mike Coomes and Suzy DeKuyper as Superman and Superwoman then had the audience up and moving again before Mary Buie led a sing-along of favourite Christmas carols.
Santa Claus took time out of his busy schedule and arrived for a visit to end the evening. Santa and his helper drew names for the raffle prizes donated by Manitoulin Chocolate Works, Dig and Doug Furniture, Billings Library and the Old Mill Heritage Centre.
The fun-for-all-ages concert wrapped up for another year with everyone leaving the Park Centre on Saturday night certainly feeling a little more Christmas spirit than they arrived with.