Young, old, and everybody in between showed up on a perfect Thursday afternoon at the Gabriola golf course to be entertained by Abba tribute band ABRA Cadabra.
The occasion was the Lion’s annual Concert on the Green, which, emcee Dixon Kenny said, is the Lion’s largest fundraiser of the year. He said all of the tens of thousands of dollars they collect from the concert and other fundraising efforts go towards the many causes and organisations they support over the year.
As previously reported, headlining band ABRA Cadabra was back by popular demand as the 2008 Concert on the Green production by the band received rave reviews.
|Master of Ceremonies Dixon Kenny (in green) "helps" the Tai Chi group warm up . ~ Photo by Chris Bowers |
The afternoon began with a Tai Chi demonstration led by Gabriolan Barb Howardson.
Countryt Green a new Gabriola band composed of John Bryson (guitar and vocals), Brad Shipley (lead guitar), Marilyn Smith (keyboards and vocal), Toni Gradanti (drums), and Mike Mead (bass) opened for ABRA Cadabra with a medley of well-known country favourites.
|Country Green left to right: John Bryson (guitar and vocals), Brad Shipley (lead guitar), Marilyn Smith (keyboards and vocal), Toni Gradanti (drums), and Mike Mead (bass). ~ Photo by Chris Bowers|
Country Green may be new, but the tightness of their repertoire proves the musicians are seasoned. Shipley’s lead riffs were particularly excellent, and Smith’s powerful version of Leonard Cohen’s Halleluiah finished their set in a style that will assure Country Green will soon have a following.
|Lion Vicki Banford (centre) models autographed Trevor Linden sweater, while Lion and Auctioneer Eric Boulton (left) gets ready to auction it off, with some help from Lion Mike Phillips. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers|
ABRA Cadabra played two sets of well-loved Abba favourites, pulling off a quick costume change while Lions Kenny, Vicki Banford, and Mike Phillips distributed door prizes, and the inimitable Eric Boulton auctioned off a number of donations.
The band had the crowd “up and dancing” almost immediately, and kept them there all evening. Besides the excellence of musicians and sound technicians, particular highlights of the evening included an audience participation number during which the band was joined onstage by a number of children for the song YMCA.
This was topped later by the RCMP auxiliary when, perhaps in a Gabriolan version of Tour de Rock, they, and every child who could fit, took to the stage for one song.
|Dancing for the cause: RCMP auxiliary members are joined by a whole lot of kids in a one-dance-only on-stage performance in exchange for a pass-the-hat collection from the crowd. Lions member and concert emcee Dixon Kenny said Lions members collected $2,050 from the audience thanks to the help from the auxiliary. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers|
In keeping with the spirit of the fundraiser, Kenny said, the auxiliary danced to encourage the crowd to fill the hats being passed by Lions members. He reported Friday that the appreciative audience contributed $2,050.
The concert made a profit of approximately $28,000 this year from about 900 sales, Kenny said, and about 1,200 people attended the concert.
|The crowd is "up and dancing" as the sun goes down behind the hill. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers|
The money “will all be returned to the community in one way or another to help our youth, our elders, our handicapped, our needy and our community organisations”, said Kenny. He offered his appreciation “to all of our many and generous sponsors and to all those that supported us by attending the Concert. We look forward to serving Gabriola in any way that we can over the coming year”.