When the Ennis sisters; Karen, Maureen and Teresa gather, there’s guaranteed to be laughter, teasing and a large dose of sentimentality, particularly when they speak about their beloved Christmas shows.
“We have a cross country Christmas tour coming up starting Nov. 24 in Newfoundland,” Maureen begins. It’s then off to Ontario where a few shows have already sold out, then they are off to Alberta where many were close to being sold out as well. Maureen shares that such a positive response makes the tour more exciting. The ladies return to St. John’s for the final leg of their tour Dec. 22 and 23 at Holy Heart Theatre.
“It’s my favourite tour that we do every year and we’ve been doing it for eight years and every year it gets more exciting to hear about sold out shows. It just gives you the energy you need…”
“To get people in the Christmas spirit,” first born Teresa adds, finishing her baby sister’s thought.
Karen nods. “Eight years ago when we started, we had eight shows and last year we did 27 shows and every year it’s building. This will be our third year taking our Christmas show off the island. There’s something so magical for people who aren’t from here about that Celtic Christmas, about an east coast Christmas; telling stories and singing songs that were such a huge part of our culture growing up. The response has been so incredible and everyone just wants to come to Newfoundland then for a big Celtic Christmas party,” she says.
Yes, sometimes touring so extensively this time of the year is hard on their own family at times. Maureen is a mom of a young daughter and being apart can be tricky, she says. Still, the up side of the tour is this; the sisters are together.
“We started in Cape Broyle at a Christmas Eve Mass. We sort of realized after that there was something that people liked,” shares Teresa.
Karen adds that since then, they have managed to do a lot of good. “It’s amazing that after this year we would have raised over $300,000 for communities all around Newfoundland and when we started dong this, that’s what we wanted to do; give back at Christmas because it’s a time when not everyone is fortunate,” she says.
‘An Amazing Feeling’
Teresa smiles. “It feels like everybody in the community comes together. We are just sort of the entertainment. To put off a show like that it takes effort,” she adds.
Karen agrees, then looks at her sisters. “I feel like, even if we weren’t touring, we’d still be together a lot.”
The banter begins; other loved ones sometimes gently protest the time the sisters want to spend together while off the road. But at the end of the day, everyone understands they have a special bond. They share many special memories, like the work they did with the legendary Ron Hynes on I’ll Be There Christmas Eve.
“It’s an amazing feeling to sing that song every night and take it off the island and see how many people actually know the song and sing along, and it’s a beautiful moment in the show and we get to talk about Ron and the experience,” Maureen shares.
Hynes actually wrote a verse and rewrote the song to fit the sisters, they share. “(Dad) called up Ron, the Man of a Thousand Songs, and somehow had the nerve to ask him to rewrite the entire song for us and Ron agreed and he came in and rewrote the song. Our version was written just for us so it’s a really special gift at Christmastime to know that we have something that special from Ron that we sing and people know. It’s a pretty neat feeling,” says Teresa.
Karen warms at the memory, but she also has her favourite to sing. “I love Christmas On Ennis Road because it brings so many memories of us growing up in Cape Broyle. We spent all our Christmases in Cape Broyle on Ennis Road so that song just speaks to the sentiment of Christmas. Spending time with everyone with so much music, food and laughter.”
So many happy memories, they agree. And that’s what their shows are all about, they say; recreating moments for themselves and creating more of those happy memories and moments with fans at home and abroad.
Karen has the final word. “That’s the thing about our Christmas shows; we want everyone to participate, be entertained and get in the Christmas spirit. And we want to make people laugh and as sisters, there’s always something to laugh at. We keep it fun and light-hearted, and people feel the family connections.” That’s what Christmas is all about!
For more on show times and dates, visit theennissisters.com