O Holy Night is one spectacular show put off by one phenomenal woman who sparkles – not only on the outside in fabulously delightful gowns – but on the inside too
Spend any time with the divine Shelley Neville and you can’t help but be swept up in an aura of awesome. The class. The humour. The passion. The talent. The love for what she does and the people around her. It’s all there and then some.
As Neville prepared for her annual extravaganza performance of O Holy Night – a concert filled with all the favourite Christmas songs and packed with unforgettable show-stopping performances by Shelley’s family (her hip-shaking Dad John along with her incredibly talented brother Johnny) and friends (Cory Tetford, David Pomeroy and Neville’s long-time stage partner Peter Halley return) she sat down with The Herald’s Managing Editor to talk cherished concert festivities as well as fabulous fashion!
As we flutter around her brilliantly decorated home and, most importantly, play with the ginormous collection of glorious gowns, Neville talked about the show’s show-stopper and namesake, O Holy Night.
“I think it’s a song that is simply powerful. It’s like an operatic piece, but then it’s very quiet and sentimental, too. That’s what I like about it – that the song takes you through a journey. Then the words and the sentiment of the song is so special. Christmas can be hustle and bustle; decorating trees and buying gifts. But really, it’s about one night, one holy night,” she said beautifully.
From gown to gown
As we shift from gown to gown, trying them on as we both ‘ooh and ahh,’ Neville shared the true sentiment and motivation behind the show, O Holy Night.
“Myself and Dad and Johnny got together last night and rehearsed, and we talked about Mom a lot because I always will do a tribute to Mom in the show,” she shared. In fact, O Holy Night is dedicated to her mother, Sylvia.
“Christmas Eve was a time that Mom and I would go to church together and I would sing O Holy Night and she would always say, ‘sing out loud,’ before I’d get up.”
The year she lost her mother, Neville found it hard to go back to church.
“That was our time. After, we’d go back to the house with Dad and everyone and we’d all have a big party. But when Mom died, I wasn’t sure what to do, so I got together my family and friends and said, ‘I’ll do a concert and I won’t feel so sad’ and that’s why it started.”
That was 14 years ago. “I do O Holy Night for Mom, because I wanted to continue to sing that song in her memory.”
Plus, performing O Holy Night inside a church, at First Light Centre for Performance and Creativity (formerly Cochrane street United Church) over Christmas is simply a glow that rivals even the most sparkly of gowns.
“It’s a little girl’s dream as a singer to get to sing inside a church on Christmas Eve. And to sing O Holy Night? It’s simply the best feeling in the world.”
Take in the beautiful Christmas tradition of O Holy Night, an unforgettable Christmas concert event, 8pm December 19, 20 and 21 at First Light Centre for Performance and Creativity (historically known as Cochrane Street United Church) located at 81 Cochrane Street, St. John’s.
For more information visit eventbrite.ca