Sounds and Stories Series: Joy to the Word

The Chippewa Valley Writers Guild brings together local musicians and writers at the Pablo Center

Maggie OBrien

More stories from Maggie O'Brien


Photo by Chippewa Valley Writers Guild

Joy to the Word will take place at 7 p.m., in the Marilyn Schaefer Riverfront Hall at the Pablo Center. Tickets for the event are $10.

The Chippewa Valley Writers Guild — a local organization committed to supporting writers throughout the region — will host the annual Joy to the Word event on Dec. 15.

Joy to the Word will take place at 7 p.m., in the Marilyn Schaefer Riverfront Hall at the Pablo Center. Tickets for the event are $10.

According to the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild website, attendees can expect a cozy holiday get-together with a combination of spoken seasonal stories and festive music.  

The featured storytellers for the 2022 Joy to the Word event involve Allyson Loomis, Nicole Kronzer, Justin Patchin and Ken Syzmanski. Holiday music will also be played by the Eau Claire UKE Club. 

B.J. Hollars, founder and executive director of the CVWG, said for the past few years, the CVWG has developed a structure that works well for the event, but this year they will incorporate some new uses of audio and more audience engagement.

“It kind of started as a smaller show with John Hildebrand, a local writer, and the ukulele club,” Hollars said. “Over time, it evolved into a multiple storytelling event featuring the ukulele club and some backup performers.”

Hollars said the CVWG has been hosting and organizing Joy to the Word for about five years now. 

“It’s been so fun to bring in so many different storytellers over the years,” Hollars said. “The vast majority of our storytellers are people who have never been involved in this particular series before, so it’s always exciting to bring new writers to the forefront.” 

Nicole Kronzer, a first-time storyteller at the event, said she left Eau Claire for college and felt she wasn’t involved in the community after she left. Kronzer said she was so excited to be invited to read at Joy to the Word. 

“Everyone was so welcoming and so warm,” Kronzer said. “I just hadn’t felt like I was a part of Eau Claire anymore for such a long time and I just got wrapped up in the arms of these amazing Eau Claire writers.

Kronzer said coming back to Eau Claire was almost overwhelming in the sense that she didn’t realize what she had lost.

“I guess my goals are just community, it’s really lovely to feel a part of that again,” Kronzer said. “I’m here for friendship.”

Loomis is a veteran storyteller for Joy to the Word and she said the event is nothing short of joyful and fun and reflects its title.

“Everybody is just so happy,” Loomis said. “It’s one of those events where you really feel that you’re coming to be part of the Eau Claire community.”

Loomis said she has a very special goal for the upcoming event. Her goal is to get everyone in the audience singing, which is part of her shared essay. 

“I will feel like it’s a small Christmas miracle if I can make this happen, so that’s my goal,” Loomis said.

Loomis said especially after the pandemic, community events feel great and they are so important to people. 

“I’m really grateful to B.J. Hollars, who organizes this every year, and I’m really grateful to the Eau Claire community that comes out and supports this event,” Loomis said. “I also want to express my ongoing gratitude to the ukulele club.” 

To learn more about Joy to the Word and buy tickets to the event, visit the Pablo Center website

O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]