Special to the Nor’wester
There were angels among us last Tuesday night and their names were Teresa, Karen and Maureen Ennis, better known as the popular trio, the Ennis Sisters. The sisters performed in Springdale at the Indian River High School Theatre as part of their extensive Christmas tour of Newfoundland, to promote their new album called “It’s Christmas.” They captivated the audience with their enchanting performance from the time they gracefully walked onto the stage in their beautiful dresses and warm smiles, until the show ended with a heartfelt standing ovation. They opened their show sharing with the audience how special it’s been to visit all the small communities and see the array of beautiful Christmas lights everywhere, and appropriately followed with the song Harbour Lights, one of the songs from the new CD.
Karen, Teresa and Maureen are angelic in every sense of the word, not only their beautiful harmonizing voices but also their entire persona and stage presence. The sisters exude warmth and grace, both on stage and off, perhaps because of their strong family ties and love for Newfoundland and music. Backstage before the show and they expressed their love for family, music and Christmas. They said how Christmas time and singing is a huge part of their family. The sisters started singing together as young children at Christmas Eve mass at Sacred Heart Church in their mother’s hometown of Cape Broyle. Maureen Ennis said, “There was always so much excitement and anticipation leading up to Christmas Eve and the church service.”
This is their third year doing the Christmas tour and Springdale is just one of 20 venues across the province. They will perform in 20 community churches before heading back home for Christmas. The Springdale show was supposed to take place at St. Luke’s Anglican Church but had to be moved to the theatre at the school because of the high demand for tickets. Karen Ennis said, “It’s our first time in Springdale and the response has been unbelievable. The fact that the show had to be moved to a new venue, it just blew us away.”
Karen Ennis said, “We picked churches to perform in because we started out in a church 20 years ago, but also because a lot of these communities we visit don’t have big theatres or arenas and a church is something that is accessible to everyone.” They said that the church is the perfect place for them to put off their Christmas show; it’s such an intimate setting and the acoustics are great for their harmonizing voices. It’s also important to them that a portion of the revenues raised at each performance will be donated back to the communities. Maureen added “We rehearse and bring the music, but seriously, when you look at it, it’s the team effort of all the volunteers in the community that make it happen, and we are so appreciative of that.”
The tour couldn’t be going better according to the sisters. They said it is very humbling, the response and support we have received from the people of Newfoundland for their show and their new Christmas CD which came out in November. They decided it was time to record another Christmas CD, not only because it’s been 20 years since they did so, but because they wanted to build on the Christmas tour. They are adding new venues every year and it’s important to them to ensure their show is fresh and new each year so that people will continue to come out to see them perform.
They said it’s only natural for them to re-unite at Christmas time to sing. Teresa said, “It’s so nice to be back on stage with my sisters, and Maureen added, “I love singing with my sisters, it’s so easy. We grew up together so we are so close, it’s easy to be on stage together, to travel together and work together. It just comes natural.”
Although the Ennis Sisters had taken a hiatus for the last five years to pursue individual interests, they continue to collaborate on music selection, writing style etc. and also sing together on special occasions. One thing is for sure, they will always re-unite at Christmas time. Maureen said, “We do know that at Christmas time, no matter what, it has to be the sisters. I can’t imagine doing anything at Christmas, especially when it involves family, and not include all three of us.”
I asked the the trio, what the audience could expect from the show, and they said their show will be very family friendly and as Newfoundland as possible with traditional songs, jokes, recitations and dancing. The audience could also expect to hear five new original songs written by Maureen and her partner Mark Murphy. Well, anyone who saw their performance can agree that they delivered one hundred percent.