MORRISBURG – “The band and I always feel like we’re coming home, when we come back to Upper Canada Playhouse,” singer Leisa Way said during a recent evening concert at the Playhouse. “We wish you in the audience all the blessings of this holiday season.”
And audiences have been thoroughly enjoying the Christmas magic of Leisa Way and the Wayward Wind Band in ‘Home for the Holidays’, on stage at the Playhouse until December 17. The phenomenal Leisa (in her delightful Christmas garb) is supported by the terrific vocal and musical skills of Bobby Prochaska, Fred Smith, Nathan Smith, Bruce Ley and Don Reid. Leisa herself put it this way, “I’m just so lucky to share the stage with such talented musicians.” Frankly, there really wasn’t a note of Christmas music that Leisa and these artists couldn’t sing, swing or boogie-woogie. And they proved it in pieces that ranged from ‘Run Rudolf Run’ to ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ and Jason McCoy’s country ‘She Makes Me Feel Like Christmas.’ Even Charlie Brown, Linus and Lucy made a song-filled appearance. And only Fred and Nathan (duelling fiddle and banjo) could find a way to combine the theme from ‘Deliverance’ with ‘Dashing through the Snow!’ to the delight of the audience.
Along the way, Leisa and the band members shared anecdotes, lots of Christmas jokes (maybe a groaner or two!) and warm family memories with the crowd. At one point, Leisa invited the band to “gather down stage as if we were sitting at home in the kitchen. Because, on the road, we are each other’s family.” There the singers delivered a beautiful a cappella rendition of ‘White Christmas’ that was one of the high points of the evening. Invited to ring jingle bells and to sing along with some much loved holiday songs, audiences (especially kid audiences) really felt part of this wonderful holiday production. Incidentally, they also learned the perils of eating way too many Christmas cookies with the delightful ‘Santa Claus Got Stuck in my Chimney.’
With Leisa and her soaring vocal range taking the lead, and backed by some of the best musicians out there in the Wayward Wind Band, ‘Home for the Holidays’ is a true Christmas delight for everyone. There are still a few performances of the show left: contact Upper Canada Playhouse for tickets. And give yourself a merry little musical Christmas.