Local talent shines at Sing It Fwd fundraiser concert

Local musicians donated their time and collaborated their acoustic talent last week at the annual Sing It Fwd concert.

With the mindset of “music changes lives” and the idea of passing on that notion, the artists put on a mind-blowing show in front of a sold out crowd at The Vogue Theatre.

The event was a fundraiser for The Saint James Music Academy (SJMA) – a music education program for children in the Downtown Eastside. The program offers high quality music instruction in piano, guitar, cello, violin and choir at no cost to the students’ families.

Andrew Huculiak and Cayne McKenzie of We Are The City started the evening off strong with their powerful duet on drums and keys.

Aidan Knight followed with his sweet voice and his “I’ve never done this before” attitude as he split the crowd in half to sing, or rather hum, different parts of his song. After asking the crowd whether they wanted a fun or “contemplative” song, he decided to combine the two, and did not disappoint.

He was accompanied by members of the Friendly Friends, Olivier Clements and Julia Wakal.

Hannah Georgas and Ryan Guldemond, of Mother Mother, joined forces with  the Saint James Music Academy for “Bit by Bit”. As the kids left the stage, smiles from ear to ear, Ryan gave each of the kids a high five — a simple move that probably took their evening from fantastic, to ridiculously amazing.

Dan Mangan made a special appearance, causing many of the females in the audience to swoon. Notorious for being the unlisted guest at events it wasn’t a big surprise for many, but a welcomed surprise nonetheless. Alongside the Saint James Music Academy he put on a great performance.

C.R. Avery wowed the crowd with his multi-talented ways. He went from beat boxing “Maggie’s Farm” and playing the harmonica, to rhythmically vocalizing about more serious topics, and even giving a shout-out to The Waldorf regarding its closure.

Videos ran in between some of the acts, showing videos of the students of the Saint James Music Academy being interviewed by the musicians. They were light-hearted, entertaining and proved to be very interesting with the innocent but sometimes sassy remarks. My favorite video was the one where Shad was “taught” how to play instruments by the kids. Apparently they did a good job as he stepped on to the stage and sang wholeheartedly like a pro.


Yukon Blonde changed the pace with their Indie Rock tunes, wild hair and equally as wild attitudes.

Fans anxiously awaited for Hey Ocean! to perform, and the wait proved to be worth it for them, obvious by the constant chatter and applause.

MCs, Cory Ashworth and Tamara Stanners from Peak FM, did a fantastic job introducing the bands and maintaining an upbeat and fun vibe in between acts. Their displayed appreciation for the musicians in conjunction with their positive energy, went a long way in making the event an even greater success.

Sing It Fwd founders Ambrosia Humphrey, Director of HR at HootSuite Media and Dave Vertesi of Hey Ocean! share similar passions as the Executive Director of the SJMA, Kathryn Walker. All of them feel strongly about community and equality, and share the notion that music changes lives. Together they strive to raise funds and awareness for the importance of youth music education, while also providing the children exposure to role models in the industry.

L to R: Tamara Stanners, Ambrosia Humphrey, Dave Vertesi, Cory Ashworth

Their partnership has achieved great things, including raising much needed money for the organization. With the help of the Vancouverites who paid to attend the concert and/or have donated to the SJMA they are surpassing all expectiations that they originally had, with each year achieving more than the past. Last year they raised a total of $25,000, while this year, in concert ticket sales alone, they raised $32,000, all of which went to the Saint James Music Academy. Their goal of $50,000 is attainable and will hopefully be reached through donations from the loving hearts and open pockets of those who support the cause.

For more information go to www.singitfwd.com or to donate go to www.sjma.ca

For more photos from the event check out my Sing It Fwd set on Flickr.


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