This post is courtesy of Lloyd Smith, 2015 Honorary Chair for the Christmas Angels and one of our founding members. Thank you, Lloyd!
While managing CFAB in Windsor from 1971, I was often among those from the Valley Network to attend and to participate in the organization of the CKDY (Digby) Christmas Daddies Broadcast (it was radio only) in early December. The Program brought just about everyone from community to celebrity and dignitary to the Digby Legion Hall for the 6 hour marathon.
In early 1977, as Windsor Station Manager, a conversation was held with the Staff, Board Members and Director of the Hants County Family and Childrens’ Services to see if a similar Program could be held in Windsor to address the needs of our local community. Following an early year meeting of staff, Case Workers and myself, plans were formulated for the First Christmas Daddies CFAB Christmas Daddies Broadcast.
With the assistance of Staff a Resource Member from the Hants County Childrens’ Services was appointed, the financial template for distribution of donations and funding was put in place through the Agency, tasks were assigned and all was underway for the first December in 1977, using a similar template as was used by the Digby Christmas Daddies Program.
The Coordinator’s Role
As coordinator, I was responsible for all of the talent contacts, time slots, technical coordination and operation, as well as press releases and promotional directions. The talent and performers were especially a rewarding task given my many years of experience in field recording of many Christmas School Broadcasts and my background within the local music industry. I knew every music teacher at every school or local church. I personally knew just about every performer in the region and with the agreed upon objective of placing focus and emphasis on children performers (choirs and individual) the show was always attended by well over 300 children as well as other bands (musical groups and high school bands, etc.) and individual performers who would be slotted to appear between the children’s appearances.
We always wanted to ensure as much fun as possible while maintaining the tight schedule throughout the day. To maintain the enjoyment and appreciation factor of the Program, greeters were on hand on the day of the Program to welcome performers, teachers, parents and special guests and there were those who served as escorts in taking performers to their respective practice rooms and, fifteen minutes before they were to appear, escort them again to the Community Centre Hall where they were lined up for their performance.
It must be mentioned that two of the key organizers to maintain the “flow” are still very much involved in 2015. Gloria Shanks has annually been responsible for attracting quality Anchor and Pledge Desk personalities and David Jennison is the seasoned Floor Director.
Another main and critical contributor almost since the beginning of the Program has been Michael Jamieson, who has provided equipment and support staff for the airing of the Show. Michael is still an integral part of the Show to this very day.
During my association with the Christmas Daddies, because of my technical experience in operations, I would look after the mixing and on-air production on the equipment provided by Michael Jamieson. This also
worked well because I, having personal contact with many of the music teachers and performers, would have insight to what they would require in terms of microphones, equipment, monitors and setup – especially valuable
when one considers that this is a live Program without rehearsal, which can be taxing on any operator.
Putting it all together
As a build up to the Show, Press Releases were provided to the local newspaper (the Hants Journal) and public service announcements were made on the radio and played frequently during local Programming. Businesses
and Organizations would get on the Bandwagon in conceiving advance fund raising or concepts which could be used during the Program. The Tree of Hope was one such concept, a Children’s Wish Book, a walk for funds by local Fire Fighters, Donation Boxes in local stores and banks and so on.
Another step forward in the show’s success came when Eastlink Community Television joined the effort (mid 1980’s) and all local media combined to ensure a visible and audible Program.
The one very popular Fund Raising Effort was the auctioning of the Sou’Wester which was introduced in 1983. (Read here for more details.)
The “Christmas Daddies” in Windsor was revised in name (not sure of exact date) when ATV in Halifax approached Organizers with the request that the name of the Show be changed because of their Copyright on the name. And so, the Christmas Angels were born.
In 2015 the Hants County Christmas Angels Telethon is still going strong. With over 100 volunteers each year, the Telethon is an event that nearly the whole community looks forward to!