Get Into the Groove 7

The Christmas Groove Gives Back

It started as a group of Medina County friends looking for a way to share their musical talents with the community.  Eleven years later, the Christmas Groove has become a wildly popular benefit concert performed every December to thousands of audience members.

Co-founders Robb and Joni Colbrunn of Hinckley organized the first Christmas Groove concert in 2004 with friends Eric and Diana VanHorn of Medina. All four are still involved in the concert’s yearly production.

“The first few years, we performed at various locations in Medina County, but we’ve outgrown all of our former venues,” says Robb. “This past Christmas we performed three concerts at Grace C&MA Church in Middleburg Heights on December 4 and 5.”

Joni explains all talent and staff volunteer their time. “There were 50 musicians on stage and another 30 people working behind the scenes.”

In addition to organizing the event, Robb is one of the Christmas Groove’s drummers. He also performs comedic skits with the show’s emcee Scott Roark. Co-organizer Joni taps out the beats on congas and other instruments in the percussion section.  In 2013, the group added a horn line and strings. The 2015 concert featured Lexi Davila from Northeast Ohio, a finalist on the television show The Voice.

The group performed traditional and contemporary Christmas songs at December’s concert. “We performed the songs with a twist,” says Robb. “We sprinkled in some rock and roll, blues, ballads, folk music and a little bit of comedy. We did Christmas parodies of Stairway to Heaven, Back in Black and Uptown Funk. Our finale was something audiences saw at previous concerts and asked for again: Little Drummer Boy.”

The Christmas Groove concert is always free but donations are accepted at the door. The 2015 concert raised more than $26,595 for  this year’s beneficiary Laura’s Home Women’s Crisis Center. Past beneficiaries were Love INC of Medina, Oasis of Hope, Medina Creative Housing and Feeding Medina County.

“We prefer to accept donations rather than charge a ticket price,” says Joni. “We have five children at home so we look at it from a parent’s perspective. Everything is so expensive during the Christmas season. The concert gives families an opportunity to enjoy an evening out and donate what they can.”

“The Christmas Groove concert is our gift to you,” says Robb. “The donation you make is your gift to the beneficiary.”

All donations go directly to the beneficiary. Costs associated with producing and marketing the show are covered by the Christmas Groove’s sponsors. The 2015 sponsors were Mid-West Poly Pak, Inc., Kirlough Family Dentistry, Spinnaker Financial Group, Merrill Lynch, Hyland Software and Hope Church.

“The Christmas Groove has turned into something that’s significantly bigger than us,” Robb says. “Every year our audience gets bigger and the donations grow. It can’t be just because of us. I believe God is blessing what we’re doing.”

Learn more about the Christmas Groove at ChristmasGroove.org.