Big Brothers Big Sisters presents four bands in event at Lindsay fairgrounds

By Geoff Coleman

Raising money for charitable organizations is a tough job in the best of times. During a pandemic when finances are tight, it takes on a new level of difficulty for an organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kawartha Lakes–Haliburton which does not receive any government funding at all.

Fortunately, creativity is never in short supply amongst groups that rely on donations for their survival, and Janice Balfour, executive director of that organization recently announced a unique fund-raising event.

After Big Brothers Big Sisters had to cancel the dinner auction and the dance they annually use raise operating capital, they realized an outdoor event was needed to meet their funding goals. That spitball has spiralled into a concert at the Lindsay Exhibition grounds on September 19, featuring 4 bands. Attendees will enjoy it from their cars through sound and video screens provided by Westerby Entertainment and staged by RBM Productions.

The lineup of Two for the Show, Practically Hip, Canada Rockz, and The Steelhorse Gypsies should appeal to just about everyone.

Two for the Show has built a solid reputation for a fun and funny pub show, playing all over the GTA and beyond. Expect as much knee slapping as toe tapping.

Practically Hip — billed as Canada’s busiest Tragically Hip tribute band — are no strangers to the local area, having played in Bobcaygeon and Peterborough during their 20-plus year incarnation. From the songs to the stories between the songs, the audience will experience a polished, professional show.

Canada Rockz is another tribute band, bringing the top hits from the Canadian music scene to stages across southern Ontario. The lineup includes guitarist Earl Johnson, best known from his days with Toronto heavy rock band, Moxy, and the beguiling Rachel Jeans. Their cover of Alannah Myle’s “Black Velvet” was featured on Q107’s Virtual Canada Day 2020 Concert.

Steel Horse Gypsies is a country-rock band who should also be familiar to local music fans having played the Lindsay Drive In in and at the Ranch in Bethany. Vocalist Bill McConnell says they will be showcasing material from their second CD. The band also has a strong pedigree, with the incredible Wendell Ferguson on lead guitar. Ferguson has won the Canadian Country Music Association guitar player of the year award seven times. ‘Nuff said.

McConnell went on to say the Fairgrounds was chosen “because of the size.”

“Cars can park on the inside road and the infield. There will be room for 175 vehicles. We will be following COVID safety practices as approved by the local health unit.” He hopes it may become a template for the fair board to use moving forward.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is committed to positively impacting and enriching the lives of children by promoting and monitoring long term friendships for kids that will benefit from quality friendships with caring adults. Their mission is to assist children and youth in reaching their full potential by improving self-esteem, self–confidence and providing positive experiences through their involvement with positive role models, screened and monitored by professional staff.

What many haven’t realized is that during the COVID crisis, they expanded their services, introducing virtual meetings over the summer. Twenty-five children are in traditional mentoring arrangements and others waiting for a mentoring match can take part in groups activities like ‘Big Bunch” which offers crafts, games and activities with local partners like the Lindsay Makers Space. A girls-only group, “Go Girls” focuses on self-esteem, body image and self-confidence.

Charities across Canada have experienced a 60 per cent drop in the number of personal charitable donations since the start of the pandemic, and smaller, local organizations are particularly hard hit. September is Big Brothers Big Sisters month, and The “Bigger Together” concert is sure to show it is possible to give and receive.

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