Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Spreading Musical Cheer

John Lauer

Whatzup Features Writer

Published June 1, 2017

Heads Up! This article is 5 years old.

It is that time of year again, a time of giving and receiving, a time of year that brings with it all kinds of traditions, such as trimming the tree, decorating cookies and exchanging gifts. For some, it is a time to gather with family members and share in all the things that make this such a wonderful time of year.

C2G Music Hall has a tradition this time of year, as well. If anyone is not familiar with this premiere music hall featuring state-of-the-art sound and lighting, now would be the perfect time to discover this gem of a venue. Located in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne, just south of Parkview Field on Baker Street, C2G is a nonprofit music hall that is handicap accessible and open to all ages. They host a wide range of artists throughout the year, but this time of year is truly special for its holiday tradition. This tradition is none other than the 5th Annual C2G Christmas Show.

It all started 6 years ago, when local music icon Mike Conley released a Christmas album chock full of Christmas standards performed by Conley and a number of local musician friends. It’s a Conley Christmas is a must-have for the holidays if you do not already have it on repeat this time of year. The album has a variety of tunes, from traditional songs such as “Little Drummer Boy” to jazz standards like “My Favorite Things” to a ska-flavored original titled “Bad Boy Christmas.”

With the release of the album came an opportunity to showcase his music. C2G provided a venue for him to perform material off of his album while at the same time giving back to the community. Canned food donations were collected and proceeds benefitted the Community Harvest Food Bank. The first year was such a success that it became a holiday tradition. The tradition continues again this year, once again on the Saturday before Christmas, December 17, with an expected 300 to 400 people in attendance to celebrate the holidays and help out a good cause.

Conley is acting as host this year, though he did admit that he might “perform a song or two.” The stars of this year’s show are five mostly female acts.

“Fort Wayne is blessed to have a wealth of top tier talent,” said Conley, who referred to this year’s show as a “diva show” featuring some of the best female vocalists in the area.

The lineup features acoustic rockers Shelly Dixon and guitarist Jeff McRae, a duet that has been making sweet music together around the area. Also performing is the well-known jazz singer Francie Zucco, a staple in the Fort Wayne music scene; singer-songwriter Sunny Taylor , always a welcome addition to any musical lineup; the ultra-talented and classically trained Alicia Pyle who skillfully blends classical, jazz, pop and world music into her performances; and Sugar Shot, a country rock group featuring the amazing duo of Jen Fisher and Gwendra Turney on vocals. Any single performer alone would be worth admission price. of $5 and a canned food item ($12 gets you Gold Circle tickets and a table next to the stage).

Last year over 4,300 cans were collected, and Conley hopes to match or exceed the collection this year. Part of the admission costs also goes towards buying food, so not only does the can you bring go towards the benefit, but a good portion of ticket sales is donated.

The show starts at 6 p.m. with each of the five acts performing half-hour sets. It is a family-friendly event, so bring the kids, bring the grandparents, your neighbors or whoever you wish to share in the good times. Food and adult beverages will be sold as well.

Basically, there is something for everyone: an excellent variety of Christmas music presented with one of the best sound systems around.

Anyone attending the show “will leave full of Christmas spirit, even if they were not feeling it before the evening began,” Conley promised.

So, on the Saturday before Christmas when you and your loved ones are looking for something to do, pack everyone in the car, bring some canned food and get down to C2G Music Hall to hear some Christmas tunes, eat some good food, spread Christmas cheer and help out a great cause. Make this tradition part of your own holiday traditions this year and many years to come.

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