“This show is our way of incorporating and creating a good mix of traditional Christmas carols on the topic of Santa Clause, gift giving etc, with the religious themed songs and hymns,” explains Andrew Mortimer, of The Next Big Thing, about The True Meaning of Christmas, a stage presentation his organization has scheduled for Thursday, December 15, 7 pm, at Our Lady of Fatima Church, 1483 Kings Road, Sydney River.
“The show will start out with the main character having the perception that Christmas is all about presents,” Mortimer says, “but through the different skits and songs she will learn that the true meaning is really about celebrating the birth of Jesus, and an overall message of love.”
Proceeds from the event, sponsored by The Next Big Thing Company and 101.9 the GIANT, go in support of Fatima House Charities. Tickets are $10 and available at the GIANT Headquarters, on Dethridge Drive in Sydney River, or the Cape Breton Fudge Company, 15 Prince Street, Sydney.
Musical performers Include Watler Oakley, Dakota Rideout, Taylor Burton, Cameron Hollohan, Brittany Coombs, Gillian Potter, Kendra Wilcox, Katherine Woodford, Hope Scheller, Brittany Gamble, Vanessa Gamble, Andrew Mortimer, and Godsent. There will also be a house band featuring Taylor Burton (Guitar), Erica McNeil (Fiddle/Piano), Dylan Krszdwa (Percussion), Tristian Riles (Bass), and Jessica McNeil (Fiddle).
“The performers are all people who have been involved with the Next Big Thing Talent Search since it was introduced in 2009,” Mortimer says. “We didn’t have an audition process for this particular show, instead I just reached out to performers I was familiar with and knew would do a great job!”
Along with the musical cast there are three actors contibuting to the production: Bhreagh Ross, Morgan Reid, and David Mortimer.
“The actors will be doing 5 four-minute skits,” Mortimer explains. “These skits will break up the sets of music and the music/skits will all follow a story of a young girl’s journey to discover ‘the true meaning of Christmas’.”
Mortimer says Fatima House Charities is a small group of volunteers who raise funds to build and maintain boarding schools for under-privileged young girls in Honduras. Many of these girls are sold into prostitution from a very early age. These schools give them a way out, and gives them an education that they would never be able to afford.
“I chose to support Fatima House with this event because they are not very well-known, and really need help to raise awareness,” Mortimer says. “I was originally going to run the event as a Christmas Daddies Fundraiser, but since it is so well-known and gets so much support from the community I thought it would be better to help out a smaller organization.”
The Next Big Thing began in 2009 as “Sydney Academy’s Got Talent”, a high school fundraiser, organized by Mortimer and fellow Grade 12 student, Melanie Brister, to raise relief money for the Haiti earthquake victims.
Response to that idea was, as Mortimer put it, “overwhelming”, and, after a short time (including a suspension for Mortimer for attending auditions at another high school), others joined the contest.
“We then held the finals at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre where Breagh MacKinnon stole the show and the grand prize which was then a Lakewind Studio recording, a gig on the Sydney Boardwalk during Action Week, and a Music Stop gift card,” Mortimer recalls.
After graduating high school, Mortimer attended Cape Breton University, and discovered Coastal Business Opportunities’ “Students in Business Program”. Through that program he started Next Big Thing Talent Co. a company that does productions, artist management, and music lessons.
“We were able to hire six students for part time work to promote the search,” Mortimer adds. “Breagh MacKinnon has released a studio album, and is studying music at Acadia University, and three other NBT Alumni (Brittany Coombs, Taylor Burton, and Trax Cordero) have already begun recording their debut albums.”
Other upcoming events for The Next Big Thing include monthly concerts at St. George’s Church Hall in Sydney, Saturday Night Jams Summer Concert Series at Wentworth Park, and Cape Breton’s Got Talent which, Mortimer promises, “…will be a large all ages talent competition coming Fall of 2012”.