For the sold-out crowd at The Mary Webb Centre, “The Leahy Family Christmas” was a show that will be remembered for a long time. It has been described by many that night as the best show they have seen at the venue.
The five Leahy sisters (Julie, Siobhan, Denise, Maria and Erin) and their brother (Frank), sang Christmas classics done in a mixture of styles – from a traditional sound of a midnight Christmas church service to foot tapping, hand clapping Celtic to danceable pop – they entertained with song, music and dance! Between the five sisters, there were two keyboards, two banjos, a mandolin, a fiddle, two guitars and five microphones so that they could sing in 5-part harmonies, truly wonderful to hear in The Mary Webb Centre venue.
They then surprised the enraptured audience with a showcase of the talent of some of their children. Ten-year-old Hanna played the fiddle like a seasoned pro, keeping up with her aunt Erin on keyboard. Xavier, Frank’s 13-year-old son astounded everyone (even his father and aunts) with rousing Celtic/Acadian explosion of sound with such speed and musical complexity he received a long and roaring standing ovation from the audience. They were even more awed when they were told that he learned to play the accordion by taking lessons from a master Quebec player over SKYPE!
To end the first half, six young folks, including the two musicians, ages ranging from 7 to 13 came out on stage and step-danced, in synchronisation, with intricate and speedy moves – receiving another standing ovation.
Throughout the show, the Leahys appeared to be having a great time, as did the audience. Stories were told of growing up near Peterborough in a family where music was a very important of their life. Their mother was from Cape Breton Island and the musical traditions from “down east” obviously have been carried on with their own family. While used to much bigger venues and audiences, they said how wonderful it was to be performing at The Mary Webb Centre in front of such an appreciative, fun loving audience. It felt more like a family party and perhaps the audience felt like they were right there in Leahy family kitchen. The Leahys definitely want to come back to the amazing venue; The Mary Webb Centre audience will certainly welcome their return.