Brantford Expositor Brantford Music

Brantford Expositor Brantford Music

Brantford Expositor Brantford Music

Tobey Christmas CD will benefit kids


By Elizabeth Yates, expositor staff
Local News – Friday, December 01, 2006 Updated @ 12:21:54 AM

The Expositor’s annual Christmas songbook will come alive this year, thanks to an accompanying CD that will raise money for local kids suffering life-threatening illness.

Pianist Paul Tobey has lent his talents to record instrumental versions of 14 seasonal melodies on a Dream Tree Christmas Memories CD.

The carols match up with entries in the songbook, allowing listeners to sing along with Tobey’s recorded performance.

The recording is the brainchild of Tobey’s wife, Nancy Houle, who proposed the pairing to Expositor advertising manager Len Offless. He, in turn, brought in the Sunshine Dreams for Kids, a charity supported by The Expositor and several other local sponsors.

Each CD costs $5, with $4 going to Sunshine Dreams and its annual Dream Tree campaign.

Sales of 2,500 copies of the CD are expected to raise $10,000 for the charity, which fulfils dreams for children facing severe disabilities or life-threatening illness.

The disc will be launched today during an invitation-only event at the Brantford Club. Starting Tuesday, it will be available at The Expositor and Executive Realty.

The songbook will be issued in Tuesday’s paper.

Tobey, a Juno-nominated musician, donated his time to produce the CD. The experience was a pleasure, he says.

“The whole thing is just amazing. I’m just a small part of it, but it feels good to be that small part.”

The 45-minute disc features piano renditions of the most popular Christmas tunes from past songbooks, including Silent Night, Jingle Bells and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

The musical arrangements should be easily followed by any singer, says Tobey, a respected composer.

Also included are four bonus tracks, recorded with Tobey and his six-piece ensemble: a Christmas medley, an original composition called Island Christmas, O Christmas Tree, and Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring — a favourite of the musician’s late mother.

The Christmas Memories CD is part of the annual Dream Tree campaign, named after a tall evergreen outside the Executive Realty office on Park Road North.

The landmark gets progressively brighter each Christmas season as donors contribute to the campaign, illuminating 1,000 lights on its branches.

Last year, the tree grew to $27,000; the 2006 goal is $30,000.

That means more sick kids will see their wishes come true, says Brian Hall, co-chairman of the Dream Tree campaign.

The CD adds an appealing new element to the campaign — and restores an old-fashioned warmth to the season, says Hall, a realtor at Executive.

“It goes back to the idea of traditional family gatherings,” he says, noting loved ones can gather to sing along with instrumental carols on the album.

If successful, the CD project could go national, Hall said, with involvement from Osprey Media, which owns The Expositor and 20 other daily newspapers as well as 36 non-daily newspapers, shopping guides, magazines and other publications.

The disc is already attracting attention from local businesses, which want to purchase large numbers to give to clients as Christmas mementoes — while also supporting a local charity.

Since 1987, Sunshine Dreams for Kids has fulfilled more than 6,200 dreams for Canadian kids.

Recently, the local unit sent five-year-old Brennan Seth to Walt Disney World in Florida.

The Hagersville youngster has undergone three open-heart surgeries since birth and is expected to next a heart transplant as a teenager or young adult.

Most dreams cost about $5,000, says Hall, noting that a trip to Disney is the No. 1 destination.

Other local children have also been able to meet heroes such as Chuck Norris and Tie Domi through the Sunshine Foundation.

To Pick Up Your Songbooks and Sing-A-Long Christmas CD Contact  

The Expositor
53 Dalhousie St.
Brantford, Ont.
P.O. Box 965
N3T 5S8

General phone number Phone: (519) 756-2020
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.