Holiday cheer

Geri Brewer and her daughter, Rasheedah Mahali.

“We go to 60 places, but you guys are Number 1.” With those words, Tim McLoone, founder and leader of Holiday Express, launched this year’s holiday concert at Matheny. And the theater in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center rocked with the sounds of “Nobody Ought to be Alone on Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

The energetic Holiday Express singer Pam McCoy was everywhere, offering her microphone to Matheny students, patients and their family members. Bedminster’s Byron Smith sang his original composition, “Santa’s Comin’.” And Geri Brewer, mother of adult patient Rasheedah Mahali, became the second Matheny parent to be part of the band, performing a solo on “This Little Light of Mine,” prompting McLoone to say, “The light keeps shining on all these wonderful people, the dedicated caregivers at Matheny.” The other Holiday Express parent is trumpeter Jim Yedloutschnig, father of adult patient, Alicia Yedloutschnig.

Holiday Express’ mission is to deliver music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to those in need during the holiday season. The organization is made up of about 1,300 volunteers including more than 80 professional musicians. Members of the Matheny Choir performed with Holiday Express during the concert, and McLoone announced that members of the choir will again be performing at the eighth annual Holiday Express Benefit Concert on December 20 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark.

Pam McCoy and Matheny student Bianca Mathis.