Feel the love. I’m not a fan of that expression.
But as the roaring chorus of 300 men and women at Eva’s Village (www.evasvillage.org) sang along to the O’Jay’s anthem, “Love Train,” I was definitely feeling it.
And so was Tim McLoone. He signaled his full band with a sweeping hand motion to extend the chorus. Conga lines snaked around the auditorium and probably would have exploded onto the streets of Paterson, New Jersey if it weren’t seven degrees outside. This concluded with foot-stomping and joyous table-slapping.
It was, as Tim would say, a “Holiday Express moment.”
Tim McLoone founded Holiday Express 18 years ago with the intention to deliver music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to the people who are often overlooked during the holiday season. Over the years, they’ve spent time at homeless shelters, drug abuse treatment facilities, psychiatric hospitals, cerebral palsy centers and nursing homes. Because, as the song goes, nobody oughta be alone on Christmas.
A rotating cast of professional musicians donates their time and talents, playing 50 concerts in the Tri-State area in the 30 days leading up to Christmas. These concerts morph into “interactive parties,” complete with costumes, props, audience participation – and often a hot meal. All those in attendance are given customized gift bags according to their needs. The organization is made up of 1300 volunteers of all ages who keep things running year round— helping to wrangle and stock donations, drive and pack trucks, and balance the books.
I spent the day watching all these pieces come together and at the climax—even though singing and dancing while ALSO operating the camera would only lead to headaches in the edit room—I couldn’t help but to sing along to “Love Train.” And I was genuinely feeling the love.