Cashbox Canada’s Christmas Stars 2012

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Cashbox Canada has a mandate to cover the legacy artists who have made this industry a success and to give press to the ones who will make it continue to shine brightly with their talent and tunes. This Christmas issue we would like to feature our Cashbox Canada’s Christmas Stars of 2012. We have asked them to share their personal stories with you about their favourite memories of the holiday season.

John McDermott
My favourite Christmas memory is the family Christmas dinners we had at 150 Fermanagh Avenue (nr.Roncesvalles in Toronto) when we had just moved to Canada. My mother would make one of the many culinary wonders she was famous for, in this case the world’s best dumplings, and all us twelve kids (I was #9) helped with the preparations. My job was to set the card table where me and my three younger siblings would eat. Later in the day we would all sing our favourite holiday songs. These memories to me are priceless! I have several favourite Christmas songs, one of which is Christmas Time is Here, from the Peanuts movie “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. I also recently experienced a new appreciation for the traditional carols I sing on my latest album “A Traditional Christmas” with soprano’s Virginia Hatfield and Shannon Mercer. This was due to the fact an old friend, Kerry Beaumont, who I attended St. Michael’s Choir School with and is now director of music at Coventry Cathedral in the UK, did the research and liner notes for these songs which really brought them to life for me.

KaylaKaylaConnie Saulnier
My favorite Christmas song is Silent Night. A beautiful harmony was taught to me by our organist Yvonne. One year I was trekking in Nepal. Our goal was to reach the  base camp of Mount Everest. The morning we were to do the final trek to base camp, the woman I was travelling with had severe mountain sickness. She had to return to a lower altitude, so I was left with our guide, Lahkpa, to continue. We ended up on the summit of  a mountain called Kalapatar which overlooked base camp. There was not enough time to go to base camp as well. Today I have a lab mix dog named Kala, who is a whole bunch of Christmases all wrapped into one.
We started somewhat late in the season which meant that we would be spending Christmas in the mountains. Before leaving Katmandu, I had managed to locate a small folding reflective Christmas tree and a locally crafted necklace for a present. Christmas Eve I set out the tree, put cotton batting around it to simulate snow and placed the wrapped present beside it. We toasted in the festivities with a bottle of kingfisher beer and a meal of Dahl. We were wearing  down filled jackets that we had rented for the journey and it was so cold that we had them on in the teahouse that we were staying in. It was christmas far from home, family and all of the traditions we knew in Canada, but as simple as it was, it was still beautiful.

Jon Patterson
I wasn’t born into a musical family but somewhere along the way the musical gene invaded our household. My children have all become very fluent in music over the years and that is a trait that I am very proud of! My fondest memory of Christmas involves being at my Mom’s house with the extended family, playing guitars and singing with my kids. We usually ended up in the living room after the feast, strumming to a number of Christmas tunes and to me that signifies what Christmas is all about – family time. I was asked, what is your favorite Christmas song? I would have to say that Silent Night is my favourite Christmas song for a lot of reasons. I like the meaning behind that song and the melody really brings me to a great warm, safe place inside… It is important to remember that Jesus Is the Reason for the Season! Rejoice!

Don Graham
My favourite Christmas song is Silent Night, although it’s technically a hymn. I think I like it’s simplicity of tune and message. It’s origin and history. Having been written for the organ, the organ malfunctioning the night of its debut and being played on a guitar instead. Plus it takes me back through Christmases past as it’s a constant through the decades. Three chords and the Truth. 

My most memorable Christmas? That’s a tough question because there are so many memories in so many different stages of my life. There’s the obvious ones, being really little and getting that toy that I coveted , my first “new” as in “unused”, guitar and the look on family members faces when I finally got old enough to be  able to buy Christmas presents with my own hard earned, adult cash.  But I think the one that takes up the biggest space in my heart is the last Christmas with our Mum. Our family of five, Mum, Dad, sisters Sandy and Donna and myself was now reduced to Mum, Sandy and I. Sandy and I both live in Toronto now but Mum was still living in our city of birth, Montreal. In the year 2000 we all packed into the van, Sandy, her husband Charles and their two boys, Graham and Ian and myself and drove to Montreal to spend Christmas with our 80 year old mother. She was failing in her health and although we didn’t know it would be her last we knew in our hearts there wouldn’t be many more. For one last time we all opened one present on Christmas Eve. We got up the next morning to a enjoy a big breakfast and spent the whole day just soaking in the Christmas spirit, gifts and love. The turkey with all the trimmings and pies and sweets filled the table and the laughter filled the familiar dining room as we all enjoyed the season and reminisced about Christmases past with the whole gang. There were some silent tears,  but more smiles and warmth in the memories. As we drove away after Christmas, we headed back to our lives. We didn’t know it would be our last together but looking back we are forever grateful to have had that time together.

Merry Christmas Mum and thanks for all the love and heart warming feelings you left us.  And Mum you’ll be glad to know that Sandy has your dining room table in Toronto and every Christmas she sets it the way you did and we feel you there along with Dad and Donna.  I have no doubt we will all spend Christmas together in Heaven one day and we will once again share the love and hope you gave us to keep.

Donna Greenberg

When I was a very small child we lived in a tiny bungalow. To help make ends meet, my parents rented out the basement to a lovely young couple. We were Jewish and they were Christian. Danny and Carol were always wonderful to us children. They invited us to hang Xmas stockings over their fireplace, beside their tree. We were thrilled. On Xmas morning we crept downstairs with bated breath and saw our stockings filled with surprises –candies, little toys, the stuff dreams are made of.  It was a moment I will never forget and to this day, I still tingle every time I see a stocking hung over a fireplace!

Krysta Scoggins

My favourite Christmas song is Silent Night. There is something about the song that just encompasses all that’s beautiful about Christmas and the holiday season. God, family and the whole feeling of love and hope. And a million memories.  I also like my Christmas single, “ Home To You (This Christmas)”, the proceeds from the sale of the single on iTunes will go to the Make A Wish Foundation.

I have so many great Christmas memories that it’s hard to pick one as a favourite. So far this years is right up there. I mean what else could a girl ask for? I’ve got my family, my kids and quite honestly the future has never been brighter... Again, this Christmas I got to put on my Grand Ole Country Christmas show with my great friends the Blush girls Stacie Roper and Melanie Switzer, and as an extra gift, the incredible Patricia Conroy joined us!  It also allowed me an opportunity to honour my brave little cousin Brady Scoggins who passed away from complications of CFC Syndrome. Contributing to the Make-A-Wish- Foundation in his name is a great privilege and a way of helping kids have a happy Christmas. Growing up in Alberta every Christmas was a white one so I’m grateful for that but honestly I’m blessed that every day is like Christmas to me.  Have a wonderful Christmas everyone and God bless you all.

Kieran Strange

My favourite Christmas song is “O Holy Night” – without a doubt. That song is beautiful. One Christmas, when I was five or six, I really wanted a Tiny Tears doll.  My parents were brilliant - they bought me not only Tiny Tears, but a matching crib, bathtub, potty, buggy (stroller to you Canadians), the works!  I spent Christmas morning bathing her, feeding her, all that jazz.  But my brother, who was about three at the time, was SO upset that I got a doll and he didn't.  Like, crying upset, because he wanted a baby too!  So during the Boxing Day sales, my mum went out and bought him a Timmy Tears - the male counterpart to my doll.  We spent the day arguing over whose turn it was to push the buggy 'round the living room and which doll got to sit which end of the bathtub. When it comes to my favourite Christmas present, that's a really tough one, my parents have always been really fab at getting us killer gifts.  I remember the year I got my SEGA Dreamcast though - Mum and Dad bought us the console and some games, and we literally didn't stop playing it for over a week, except to bathe and sleep.  My brother and I used to game a lot together, I miss it now, but that gift was definitely tops.

Lee Vyborny
It is odd, but my most memorable Christmas is one that I did not celebrate in the traditional sense.  Six short months after the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962, I was in training to become a crew member aboard one of the few submarines in the US Navy’s fledgling nuclear fleet.   One of those boats, the USS Thresher, went down with 129 souls aboard on April 10, 1963.  I was undeterred by the event and continued on the Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut.  I was there on that November day when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  Three weeks later I graduated at the top of my class and was immediately assigned to the USS Sargo (SSN583).  It was in port at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii – and it was there that I spent my first Christmas as a crew member.  It all happened many years ago, but I have poignant memories of the events that occurred in the span of a single year.  No year has seemed quite as bad since.

Albert Bernicky

Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year to gather around the Christmas tree and watch children of all ages light up and smile as they open their gifts.As a young boy I would count how many sleeps and days left til Christmas. The smell of bake cookies and meat pies would linger around the house for hours.  On Christmas Eve we would go to bed early and then wake up at 10. We would dress up in our Sunday best and head out to midnight mass, praise the birth of Jesus ,lite up a candle and then come home to open up our gifts and  gather around the table for a meal. The next few days we would go and visit relatives and friends and open up more more gifts. My favourite Christmas song is Little Drummer Boy.

Ruthless Ones

It has been a great year for Ruthless Ones. We released our first CD, played tons of gigs around town. We are currently writing songs for our second CD, and hoping to get in the studio in the early Spring. We want to thank our fans for supporting us, and our friends and family for being there.

Merry Christmas to all.

Ruthless Ones!