Thursday, December 20

A Surprising Evening

Last year around this time, November 2011, I went to a conference and W. Brett Wilson was the keynote speaker.  He told the story of his life, including the ruination of his relationships due to the amount of work he was completing while making millions of dollars (follow link to hear this story). While rebuilding his relationships he has told his family that he will answer their calls at anytime, and then his phone rings during his keynote speaker address.  He answers it, tells his dad he is in the middle of a speech in front of 400 people, and that he will call back in ten minutes, then hangs up.  I tell this story a lot as, in our society, we are still learning how to interact with people, electronics and social media in socially appropriate ways.  Here is an example contrary to much of what I have established as socially acceptable, and yet Brett's decision to put his family first makes sense.

This evening I was asked to attend a fundraising concert at which my nephew was performing with his touring choir.  I love seeing my nieces and nephews perform and gladly agreed.  My father, sister, brother-in-law and I went to the dinner and concert and the performers were the most eclectic mix I have ever encountered.  As it turned out, this was a philanthropic evening organized by Brett Wilson and his staff in order to raise money for the Calgary Veterans Food Bank.  Here was this former Dragon's Den millionaire who had made his money in gas and oil doing more work in the community.  As I looked around I saw a former mayor of Calgary, a few CBC reporters, a Calgary Stampeder (this person was pointed out to me), and several other faces I knew from around Calgary but could not name.  This evening while listening to seven different artistic acts we raised $95,000 dollars, $20 of which was mine.  I did not expect such professional and well connected musicians or audience members, instead I was anticipating a junior high school type performance.  What a night!  This is why I write a little, read and little and get up and live a lot.  The living part is just so enjoyable and filled with surprises.

The performers are below with comments about my favourite parts of the evening.  What a joyous night to be a part of and I did enjoy rubbing elbows everyone in attendance, and I will return next year.

Boys Choir
They performed several pieces written by Benjamin Britten a challenging composer who wrote in the UK around and after World War Two.  They were delightful and Brett Wilson actually won a performance by the choir at another charity auction and used the performance he won to earn more money for even more charities.  This is a smart man.

Brett Kissel
Official website
He is a talented and young country singer who wrote a song in protest of the NHL lockout on behalf of fans, 'Hockey, Please Come Back'.  Rumour has it, it is somewhat viral at this point.  An interesting micx of songs with several poignant ones written for his grandparents.

Shane Koyczan
I had no idea who this man was but I have been exposed to modern forms of poetry, including poetry slams and the spoken word.  He performed at the Vancouver Olympic opening ceremonies with 'We Are More' a tribute to Canada, and is working hard to spread the word about clinical depression and dealing with bullying.  His love poems were equal parts hilarious, thoughtful and enchanting.

One of his funny and brief poems:

The Stellas
Official Website
A group whose name I was familiar with but whom I had never heard.  We were fortunate enough to hear both Brad and Marylynne and their two children, Lennon and Maisy, who recently made a video that went viral and earned them a spot on Good Morning America.  As two duos they are incredibly musical, gentle performers and talented people.  As a quartet, they sang a few lovely Christmas songs and brought others up on stage to share the spirit of the season.

Here is one of there most beautiful videos which Marylynne wrote after finding a book of love poems written back and forth from soldiers to loved ones back home during World War Two.  A moving piece of work:

Also performing were Christian Laurian and his sister Malia Ashely Kerr.  Lastly, we received an operatic performance by Sara Staples along with her accompanist, Nathaniel Schmidt.
Such a delightful night that surpassed my expectations.

Get out and live a lot!

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