‘True Colors’ for Christmas

From left, Melissa Chill, choir member Amanda Kochell and music therapy intern Molly Wilkerson.

The song “True Colors” has been recorded by both Cyndi Lauper and Phil Collins, but no one has performed it with more feeling and sincerity than Melissa Chill, a Red Bank, NJ-based singer/songwriter who volunteers with Holiday Express, an organization that presents 60 performances between Thanksgiving and Christmas at places where they believe people need an extra dose of cheer.

Chill sang “True Colors” with members of the Matheny choir during the Holiday Express Christmas Spectacular benefit concert on December 11 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark (NJPAC). The band had performed at Matheny on Sunday, December 8, and founder and leader Tim McLoone extended his annual invitation for Matheny Choir members to join the festivities at NJPAC. (The choir is part of Matheny’s music therapy program.)

The choir sang “Let it Snow” and “Joy to the World” to standing ovations before Chill took the stage to lead them in “True Colors.”  “Melissa Chill,” said McLoone, “is one of those amazing performers who can be all rockin’ and bluesy one minute and rip your heart out the next.”

An additional highlight of the Matheny Choir participation in the benefit concert has been a special rapport developed with the Holiday Express dancers, a group of young women from the Red Bank, NJ-based Kathryn Barnett School of Dance Traveling Troupe. Some members of the dance group attended the Matheny Prom last spring and indicated they will be back again next spring.

The Holiday Express dancers with choir member Tony Santia.