WNIJ offers Hometown Holiday Dec. 25

Whether you were in the crowd that filled Memorial Hall Dec. 9-11 or not, don’t miss this opportunity to gather your family around the radio on Christmas Day at 1 p.m. Granted, it probably will not be as it was years ago sitting around the radio; many will enjoy the presentation in full surround sound, I imagine. The 12th annual Hometown Holiday, presented by Charlotte’s Web for the Performing Arts, was the best I’ve seen thus far.

J.R. Sullivan traveled from New York City to his hometown of Rockford. He assured us his neighborhood is a cozy little burg that cares about him; we were pleased to hear it. Randy Sabien traveled from Hayward, Wis., which in the winter may seem farther than New York City. Nate Braddock shared melodious tunes with uncle, Randy Sabien. Daniel Patrick Sullivan joined his brother on stage telling the charming tale of how the angel came to rest atop the Christmas tree.

Linda Abronski took the stage, bringing us the finest fruit cake recipe to date. She delivers humor with great finesse, and that’s why we are always excited to see her name on the playbill. Shawn Wallace played piano, sang and brought Ray Charles back to earth even if for just a moment.

Megon McDonough brought chills to my skin with her incredible voice and amazing tale of how she received her calling to sing when she saw the Beatles on television.

J.R.’s monologue is tender and funny and, of course, we could all identify with some portion of it. I happen to remember our car being serviced at Scanlan’s. And I could just imagine the journey through the snow across Auburn Street.

Consider the opportunity to listen to this performance, a well-deserved holiday treat.

Anne E. O’Keefe is executive director of the Rockford Area Arts Council.

From the Dec. 21-27, 2005, issue

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