Tune into Channel Nine and enjoy “A New Holiday”, co-written and directed by 2021 St. Louis Arts Awards honoree Brian Owens, premiering Monday, Dec. 21. The story follows a 10-year-old girl on her holiday journey of hope, joy and love as she copes with the loss of her beloved grandmother. The production – written by soul singer Brian Owens and actress Sophia Stephens - features an all-black cast and is Owens’ directorial debut.

The musical was filmed in accordance with health and safety guidelines across St Louis, including at Jazz St. Louis, St. Louis Symphony’s Powell Hall and Sheldon Concert Hall, all Arts and Education Council grantees, in the Grand Center Arts District.

“To accomplish a production of this caliber with high quality talent, story and visuals in such a short time period was a beautiful surprise for all involved. We’re thrilled to share “A New Holiday” in time for Christmas and hope those who can’t be with family – or have lost loved ones - this year find hope and joy in the music and journey,” said Brian Owens of the film.

“A New Holiday” stars trumpeter and nine-time Grammy Award winner Wynton Marsalis, singer Kennedy Holmes (NBC’s “The Voice"), actress Sophia Stephens (Broadway’s The Lion King), jazz singer Anita Jackson, and newcomer Riley Adams. It also features musical performances by Grammy Award winners Bebe Winans, Karen Clark-Sheard and saxophonist David Sanborn. The original music is by Owens, Grammy Award nominee Jarrett Johnson, Charles Ransom and Stephanie Holly.

The production utilized the talents of young St. Louis creatives and, in particular, creatives of color. Paid interns and Artists in Residence, contributed to the project’s scripting, set design, filming and post-production. Additionally, three dance students from Grand Center Arts Academy performed in the film under the choreography direction of Keith Tyrone Williams, a 2018 St. Louis Arts Awards honoree and Arts and Education Council board member. Animation is by Lion Forge Labs.

“A New Holiday” is the first major project under the LIFE Creative Ecosystem, which is a partnership of LIFE Creative Group (a for profit production company founded by Brian Owens) and LIFE Arts Inc. LIFE Arts Inc. was founded by Owens in 2016 to provide artistic resources, opportunities and mentoring to underserved youth in his hometown of Ferguson, Missouri and is now under the leadership of Darius Williams. The film was completed in partnership with and supported by Steward Family Foundation. For more information about LIFE Creative Ecosystem, visit lifecreative.org.

“A New Holiday” will air on Nine Network on Monday, Dec. 21 at 7:00 p.m. and again on Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 9:00 p.m. Beginning Monday, Dec. 21 at 7:00 p.m., the musical will also be available on YouTube

Did you know you can celebrate Brian Owens with a St. Louis Arts Awards Tribute Gift? A tribute gift is a great way to honor and celebrate honorees. When a tribute gift is received, we will send an acknowledgment to the honoree indicated, notifying them of your thoughtful donation, but will not reveal the amount of the donation. Every gift is tax-deductible, and you will receive an acknowledgment of your donation. Make a gift here.