Delk's final bow will be another holiday classic - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Delk's final bow will be another holiday classic

David Delk and Sounds of the Holidays will get people in the holiday spirit. (Photo source: WLOX) David Delk and Sounds of the Holidays will get people in the holiday spirit. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

The annual Sounds of the Holidays has brought Christmas cheer to South Mississippi since 1988.  And in that time, hundreds of local singers, dancers and musicians have been lucky enough to share the stage with one very special person. 

If you know anything about coast theater, you know the name David Delk.  Whether he’s on stage, or directing behind the scenes, David always shares his passion for the arts with South Mississippi.  He was on stage in 1988 when Sounds of Holidays debuted.  You’ll see him again next week when the curtain goes up on performance number 27.  Sadly, it will be the last time Delk has his fingerprints all over this holiday tradition.

Whether he's playing music at home, or listening in his car, Christmas tunes are a part of David Delk's life almost year round. That's because Delk is the director of what has become one of the most extravagant and successful Christmas shows on the coast, and the entire southeastern region, the annual Sounds of the Holidays. “As soon as Sounds of the Holidays ends, I'm thinking about next year,” he said as he reminisced about a program he’s directed for the last 15 years.
 
Delk starts his preparation work early, because he wants the audience to see a brand new show every year. That means he's thinking about set designs, and selecting music throughout the year to prepare for the next Sounds of the Holidays. “For years I've gone on E-Bay and to antique stores, looking for music, going back and finding new arrangements we haven't used before,” he said.
 
It's truly a labor of love for Delk, a man known for his generosity.  Last year, a coast magazine named Delk the coast’s philanthropist of the year. “When you give back to the community,” he noted, “it means so much.”
 
Delk has performed every year in Sounds of the Holidays since it started 27 years ago. “I love Sounds of the Holidays. It's so close to my heart,” he said with a smile.
 
Close to his heart, in part, because it's a fundraiser for the American Heart Association.  And he's reminded of that connection throughout the year. “This man came up to me with this metal heart in his hand and said you are helping me live longer by doing this show,” said Delk.
 
The December 16 program at Biloxi’s Saenger Theater promises to be another big hit. But, it will also be quite emotional. The 27th Sounds of the Holidays will be David Delk’s last. “Sometimes you have to just let it go and move on and it's time,” he said. “I'm melancholy about it because this has been a big part of my life for half of my life.”
 
While he has loved every minute of directing Sounds, he wants to move on to other projects. And maybe even enjoy the holidays at home.  “We haven't put up a tree in my house in nine years,” chuckled Delk. “I haven't sent out Christmas cards in five years. I just don't have the time.”
 
Stepping away from Sounds will give him time to do just that. But, he will always keep the memories with him. “Those are magical memories. It's very special,” he told Karen Abernathy during this interview. “I met you all those years ago at Sounds and now we're dear friends. And so many other special people. And I'll take those memories with me deep in my heart.”
 
At that point, Delk walked over to this piano and began playing a holiday classic. As he sang the final words to “The Christmas Song” he paused, took a deep breath and smiled. “It's a special time of year,” he said.

Sounds of the Holidays, directed one final time by David Delk, debuts December 16 at the Saenger Theater in Biloxi.

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