COVID Can’t Stop 16th Annual Trills The Season Toy Drive

Nosa Edebor (right) with Bombón at Axelrad in 2019
Photo by Jimmy Diaz, courtesy Nosa Edebor
Nosa Edebor (right) with Bombón at Axelrad in 2019
For more than a decade and a half, Nosa Edebor has been working part-time as Houston’s own Father Christmas.

Since he was 18 or 19 years old, the Bayou City native – who makes music under the moniker Nosaprise – has been hosting an annual toy drive for kids in need during the holidays, supported by a concert series featuring local artists.

Aptly dubbed Trills The Season, the campaign faces unprecedented logistical barriers this year as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on people’s health and the economy, but Edebor refuses to let the pandemic stop him from spreading a little joy.

“This year, with COVID, we’re doing the whole thing outside,” he says. “We want to have fun and I wanted to continue this tradition, but we wanted to be aware and respectful of everything that’s going on.”

So with coronavirus in mind, this year’s drive will be held outdoors at Raven Tower, and attendees will be required to wear masks while on the premises. The event will include live DJs, live music courtesy of the Free Radicals, Tony Badd and B-N-G and a “Trill Flow” yoga session before the music starts.

“It’ll be Houston-based hip hop and rap — not like a traditional yoga class,” Edebor says, adding that participants can expect to hear plenty of Bun B, UGK and maybe even some underground favorites like Fat Tony during the session. “Instead of money, we’re asking people to bring toys (to pay) for the class.”

In years past, Trills The Season has hand-delivered toys throughout the city, from Third Ward, the Northside and Fifth Ward to Kashmere Gardens and Hiram Clarke. But this year, face-to-face interactions may keep Edebor from distributing the gifts in-person.

“Right now, we’re in this distanced culture where it’s hard to approach strangers,” he says. “So we’re looking into a couple of organizations that already do donations, so we might give to them since they already have their protocols.”

Given how much damage has been done by COVID, Trills The Season has expanded its mission from toys to general essentials. Edebor says toys, clothes, jackets, diapers, formula and non-perishable food will all be gratefully accepted.

“We just wanted to figure out how to give back to the community,” Edebor says of the event, which he started when he was a teenager. “When you’re 18 or 19, you don’t have a lot of money. But the Houston music community was so strong and tight-knit that we were able to put something together using everyone’s individual talents.”

Sixteen years later, the tradition continues.

Trills the Season is scheduled for 3:30 -10:30 p.m. Sunday, December 20 at The Raven Tower, 310 North.