The Christmas Groove Benefit Concert Has Been Making a Difference in Northeast Ohio since 2004
The Christmas Groove Benefit Concert started 14 years ago as a small event featuring local musicians with the aim at getting the community into the Christmas spirit just before the holidays. Two of the founding members, Robb Colbrunn and his wife, Joni, estimate that around 250-300 people attended the first show, which was held at Polaris Christian Church in Brunswick. “When we originally started The Christmas Groove, it was just one of our friends that said, ‘Let’s get together and play our favorite Christmas songs, but in styles like rock and blues,'” says Colbrunn. “There were about 12-15 of us that performed that first year,” Joni adds .
To say a lot has changed with The Christmas Groove since those early days would be an understatement. Last year, attendance for the event was over 5000 people and organizers had to put on four shows at Grace Church in Middleburg Heights to accommodate all the attendees. The number of performers and technical staff has increased greatly as well, with approximately 90 people donating their time and talents to the show last year. “We always try to provide a family-friendly concert with a variety of music from pop to blues to R&B, and of course, great Christmas music to go along with it as well,” Colbrunn says.
As the show has grown over the years, so has it’s scope and mission. In 2010 The Christmas Groove began to operate as a benefit concert to help local charities in Northeast Ohio. That year, the beneficiary was Love, Inc. of Medina County and nearly $2,500 was raised to help those in urgent need of financial help and resource support. The next year, the Brunswick Food Pantry was chosen and almost $4,500 was given to help stock their shelves for residents of Medina County who were in need of a little help around the holidays. Colbrunn is excited to point out that attendance and donations to charities has grown by at least 20-25% every year since it’s inaugural event. Last year’s beneficiary, Building Hope in the City, received an astounding $38,600 in donations from residents of Medina and surrounding counties.
“This year, a fifth show has been added and we look forward to seeing continued growth and generosity for our beneficiary, Safe Families of Cleveland, who does amazing work for children in our city,” Joni says.
“Every dollar that is donated from the show goes directly to that year’s cause. This is possible only because of the overwhelming generosity of our corporate sponsors, who pitch in to cover all production costs that go into making the event the success that it has become,” Colbrunn says. Sponsors such as Mid-West Poly Pak , Kirlough Family Dentistry, Blaise Rosser of Keller Williams Realty, Always Best Care, Hyland, Spinnaker Financial Group and Cleveland Custom Homes have been on board for several years now. “The musicians and singers also donate their time and talents to the show,” Colbrunn adds.
Because of the collaborative efforts of both the sponsors and the talent, there has never been an admission fee to see the shows. “It is a free show because we want it to be a gift to the audience. We want to make it possible for the audience to give generously to the beneficiary,” Colbrunn says.
This holiday season come see for yourself why there’s no better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to spend a couple of hours enjoying great music and giving to another great cause, right here in Northeast Ohio. The Christmas Groove is approaching fast and is sure to be bigger and better than ever!
Dates and times for this year’s shows will be:
Thursday, November 29, at 7 p.m.
Friday, November 30, at 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 1, at 11 a.m.
Saturday, December 1, at 3 p.m.
Saturday, December 1, at 7 p.m.
All shows will be held at Grace Church in Middleburg Heights
To learn more about The Christmas Groove and this year’s beneficiary, Safe Families of Cleveland, visit www.cleveland.safe-families.org and www.christmasgroove.org.