SUDBURY – Manitoulin Island talent will once again be represented at the CTV Lions Children’s Christmas Telethon this year, including a debut performance to a broadcast audience by young singer Ellie Maxwell.
“I think it’s coming together quite well this year. We have a lot of variety in our talent; it was difficult choosing the ones who would make it,” said CTV Lions Children’s Christmas Telethon musical director Jeff Wiseman. This is his third year working for the production and he helps to co-ordinate the musical talent with the house band.
Taking part in this year’s telethon is Evansville’s favourite rising star singer, Ellie Maxwell.
“I’m feeling really excited. I’m really happy that I can help kids that are less fortunate than me have a good Christmas,” said Ellie.
The CTV Lions Children’s Christmas Telethon raises money to buy toys for less-fortunate families. It airs on CTV Northern Ontario on Saturday, December 7 from 2 pm until 11 pm.
“There’s a lot of families in need; I think it might be getting worse every year,” said Mr. Wiseman.
This is 11-year-old Ellie’s first year performing at the telethon and, in fact, her first time appearing on television. Her mother, Mary Mendes de Franca, said she had been looking into opportunities for Ellie to perform and she suggested that this would also be a good cause.
“She was auditioning with the musical director and three ladies who are the backup singers. (The team) said she had the voice of an angel, which was very nice,” said Ms. Mendes de Franca.
Unfortunately, Ellie had to pass on an opportunity to lead the singing group at the Gore Bay Santa Claus Parade because it is taking place on the same evening as the telethon.
“I’m just singing the one song, ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.’ I really like the older music,” she said, and encouraged all Islanders to watch the telethon on CTV Northern Ontario and call in to pledge their support for the cause.
Ellie is joining other talented performers from Manitoulin Island who will be joining the telethon for this year, including returning singer Katie Harper.
Manitowaning’s Robbie Shawana is also returning, and will be performing ‘Pretty Paper,’ a melancholy tune by songwriter Willie Nelson that describes a shopper who encounters a homeless person during the rush of the holidays.
“Robbie’s been with us with many years. He’s bringing to the table a real sensitive song,” said Mr. Wiseman.
“I’m hoping everyone enjoys the show. It’s all local talent and, aside from a couple of acts, it’s all amateur,” said Mr. Wiseman.
He encouraged everyone to make a pledge during the broadcast to help people in their communities who need assistance especially at this time of year. The event is broadcast from Sudbury Secondary School and people are welcome to join the audience in person if they so desire.