Home for the Holidays: Christmas with Leisa Way and her Wayward Wind Band

MORRISBURG – She has brought the magic of this most joyous time of year to Upper Canada Playhouse in her previous productions, ‘Mistletoe Magic’ and ‘Have Yourself a Swinging Little Country Christmas.’ And now, the incredible Leisa Way and her Wayward Wind Band are coming back to the Playhouse with a spectacular new Christmas special, ‘Home for the Holidays’, December 5-17.

Leisa Way has long been a huge audience favourite at the Playhouse. Playhouse crowds have flocked to her earlier productions showcasing the music of Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, the British Invasion, and Rock n’ Roll is Here to Stay. In fact, when I caught up with Leisa to talk about ‘Home for the Holidays,’ her new Christmas show, she had just completed a sold out night of ‘Early Morning Rain,’ her warm tribute to Gordon Lightfoot. “It was a wonderful final night,” Leisa said. “Gordie’s drummer of 47 years actually joined us on stage.”

Leisa is a real fan of the Playhouse, its staff and its audiences, and loves bringing her exciting musical productions to Morrisburg. “Upper Canada Playhouse is such a warm and welcoming place,” she said. “That’s part of the reason we decided to call this Christmas show ‘Home for the Holidays,’ because, frankly, that’s how we see performing at the Playhouse. My band and I are on the road for months at a time: we are like a family too (we love each other even when we’re cranky!). But coming here to Morrisburg to perform, well, it really does feel like we’re coming home.”

Leisa’s new show is going to feature some of the best music of the holiday season. Audiences can look forward to the traditional songs that everyone knows and loves. “But we are also introducing some new songs like George Strait’s wonderful ‘Christmas Cookies,’ the song from ‘Home Alone,’ and even a ‘Boogie Woogie Santa Claus’ set which just might have folks dancing in their seats,” Leisa laughed. “This is going to be a show with every style of music – jazz, country, rock, classic –those songs that we feel will thrill everyone, young and old.”

Leisa’s powerhouse voice and her extraordinary ability to channel deep themes and feelings in her music, have long made her a fan favourite. And, in the persons of the Wayward Wind Band, she is bringing some of the finest musicians and vocalists in the business with her to the Playhouse stage. Don Reid, Bruce Ley, Bobby Porchaska, Nathan Smith and Fred Smith are going to fill the hall with their outstanding and memorable musical arrangements. ‘Home for the Holidays’ will feature some terrific music. “And,” Leisa laughed, “I’ve got my costumes all ready.”

As well as the regular shows and matinees, Leisa and the Band will be presenting a children’s show, which she is really looking forward to. “Kids love music. And they are such wide-eyed participants.”

Expect lots of fun elements in ‘Home for the Holidays’ that will surprize and delight. “We’ve got a duelling banjo and fiddle. There are singalongs. There’s going to be a great new Charlie Brown segment and a new skit involving an old friend, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Plenty of stories and songs that I think will connect with people at this very special time of year.”

Leisa Way and the Wayward Wind Band promise audiences all the joy and warmth of the Christmas season throughout their Playhouse run of ‘Home for the Holidays,’ December 5-17. “After all, Christmas is not about gifts,” Leisa Way told me, “except for the gifts of love. I know that there is a true power in music. And I love that the child in all of us really does come out at Christmas time.”

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