NORTON SHORES, Mich. — Each holiday season, the Mona Shores Choir presents the Singing Christmas Tree. Just like any other Christmas tree, this one needs an angel on top.
And for this year's angel, singing isn't just a passion. It's her world.
"It means everything to me," says 17-year-old Ella Cole.
She has been singing her entire life. She's also faced a big challenge.
"I've had vision problems since I was born," says Cole.
Following multiple surgeries as a child, when she was ten-years-old, she lost all vision in her left eye. Since then, live performances, including previous appearances in the Singing Christmas Tree, have been difficult.
"Getting on and off the stage is a little but harder for me because I can't see in the dark," says Cole.
But the struggle is worth it for the escape from reality.
"When I'm singing, I just feel that I'm myself and I don't have to pretend to be anyone else," she says.
Cole's family agrees and has supported her the whole way.
"It's always been a joy to watch her express herself through song," says Rod Winegar, Cole's grandfather.
He believes the angel on top of the tree couldn't be a better person.
"She's an exceptional singer, she's a brave young lady and I'm proud that she's my granddaughter," says Winegar.
And as Cole reaches a literal peak in her singing career at the top of the tree, she hopes her perseverance will encourage others to achieve their goals as well.
"You can always persevere and you can always overcome," says Cole. "It's not a matter of someone holding you back, it would be you holding you back. Don't let yourself hold you back."
You can catch Ella at a free, special dress rehearsal show next Tuesday. The shows run from Wednesday, Nov. 30, through Saturday, Dec. 3.
Tickets are available here.
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