Christmas performance raises awareness about heroin epidemic

A family teamed up with local musicians to put on a unique Christmas performance in Ocean City on Sunday. It was all part of an effort to raise awareness about the heroin epidemic.

Melissa Alesi, a singer in the performance, said, "We had worked on a Christmas project, an album with Tony last year, and he had a vision for it and it's a live performance now and this is our first run and we're having a good time."

The performance was put together by Tony Christ. Christ lost his son, Brian, after he overdosed on heroin in 2004.

Tony Christ said, "We had a tragedy 13 years ago and we just decided to you know we were dealt lemons and we're trying to make lemonade."

Brian was only 22 years old when he died, and his parents said their goal for Sunday's concert was to get kids educated on the opioid crisis through entertainment. 

Lauren Glick, another singer in the performance, said, "Well I think Tony's idea was to do it kind of subliminally instead of just kind of, you know, with a pamphlet. So I think the idea is neat because the kids can kind of join in. His vision is to have the kids come up on stage and join the show."

Tony Christ said, "We're using music to touch emotions and bypass the frontal lobe. We don't want to lecture, we don't want to educate, we want the kids to be more resistant themselves and we've got hope sandwiched in the middle."

Event organizers wanted concert-goers to come away with a message and a few songs. 

LeeAnn Christ, Brian's bereaved mother, said, "If [kids] come and they see a face, oh you know, I don't want that to happen to me or my friends, if their parents fully explain what happened and then they go away with the full understanding that it can happen to anybody and it's very prevalent and, you know, that they learn from it."

If you want to contribute to the cause, you can buy a copy of Brian's Christmas Songbook online.

One dollar from each sale will go towards treatment.

You can buy the CD here:

Categories: Local News, Maryland