When some Kelowna musicians found out about the humanitarian disaster that has affected the people of Haiti in the aftermath of the recent earthquake, they decided the best way to help was to pick up their instruments.
The Power of Music – Helping Hands for Haiti concert will be held Jan. 30 from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. at the Kelowna Community Theatre, with a huge cross-section of local musicians, all of whom are donating their time and talent to raise money for the Red Cross relief efforts in the Caribbean island nation.
“Our band was practicing a week ago today, and we were talking about the situation in Haiti and we thought ‘How can we help out,” said Greg Murphy of acoustic four-piece band Jambalaya.
“It started out as an idea . . . just a dance or a small concert,” said Murphy at a press conference held Thursday at Sal’s Steakhouse. “But with the help that everyone’s given us and all the interest it almost turning into a small telethon and we’re just hoping we can raise a lot of money for this cause.
“Initially I was thinking if we could raise $10,000 I’d be really happy, but right now I’m starting to think with all the interest, we could maybe do substantially better than that.”
According to Murphy, the federal government will match any funds raised at the event, with no set admission and entry strictly by donation.
Music will be provided by, at present 19 bands. Acts like John Lee Sanders, Sherman Doucette, Scott Thielman, Field of Green, Grooveyard, Anna Jacyszyn and Nixie, among others have all agreed to donate their time and talents to the cause.
Local musician/producer and artist Danny McBride, who played for many years with Chris De Burgh and did a fundraising concert with him at Wembley Arena to raise funds for Kurdish relief, before settling in the Okanagan, was quick to say yes when asked to be a part of the event. “It’s for a good cause,” he said. “Anything that’s going to help the people out is good.”
Greg Murphy, who only thought of the idea last Friday, approached Kelowna Community Theatre manager Randy Zahara about the show, and Zahara, like all the musicians who were asked, was glad to help out. “He had the idea with his band,” said Zahara of Murphy and Jambalaya. “As soon as we started putting the word out everything just started falling into place,” he said. “In less than a week we’ve gone from a couple of hours to, well, it’s probably going to be 12 hours all together.”
The City of Kelowna, through council, agreed to provide the 869-seat theatre space and technical support out of their contingency fund said Zahara, a songwriter himself.
The latest addition to the lineup was local punk band, The Saint James, who showed up at the press conference with a promise to help. “We were just sitting in the mayor’s office in fact talking to the mayor about an upcoming film we have and permits” said James Blonde of the band. “We ran out of her office and ran straight over here when we heard of the possibility of us to perform for a fantastic cause like this.” The local punkers will also be playing a Haiti benefit show being organized in Vernon, according to Blonde.
Ric’s Grill restaurant has also jumped on board with the efforts, and will be donating 20 per cent of their lunch sales from Jan. 22 to 29 to the Red Cross fund.
Murphy, despite the devastation he has seen in Haiti on television and the internet, was upbeat about the chance to help. “We’re looking forward to a full house, and maybe over the course of the day three full houses,” he said.
250-575-3981Local musicians to hold Haiti fundraiser