Hodge: Valdy lends his talents to fundraiser for Camp Owaissi

Canadian folk icon Valdy will bring his troubadour talent to the wonderful confines of the Creekside Theatre March 5.

Dig out your pen and calendar and mark a great big reserved sign on Tuesday, March 5. You will not be sorry.

That’s the night Canadian folk icon Valdy will bring his troubadour talent to the wonderful confines of the Creekside Theatre in Lake Country for what promises to truly be a memorable evening of music and fellowship.

Valdy (Renaissance, Country Man, Play Me a Rock n’ Roll Song…) has kindly donated his time and skills for the evening of song and storytelling in order to raise funds and awareness about a local (almost as legendary) location—Camp Owaissi.

Originally known as the Okanagan Anglican Church (OAC) Camp on Westside Road, the marvellous campground has been hosting summer retreats for kids for 50 years.

Chances are good you either enjoyed a visit to the wonderful spot yourself, or know someone who has.

Camp OAC will forever hold a special spot in my heart. I had the pleasure of spending at least four or five summers as a youngster attending either church or cub camp there.

I remember campfires complete with marshmallow roasts and hot chocolate, sing-alongs and endless games played around the giant fire pits.

During the sunny summer days, countless hours were spent swimming, canoeing, playing sports, crafts, or taking part in scavenger hunts, hikes, and outdoor ceremonies or lessons.

During the past half-century, thousands of youngsters from Kelowna, the Okanagan, and locations around the world have had similar memorable memories and hopefully with your support, more marvellous memories will be made.

Funds from the concert and silent auction will assist in upgrades to the camp facilities including kitchen and dining hall, summer staffing, and program costs for the many youth programs.

Seven camps are held each year—one each week from July through August. Each camp is geared toward a particular age group.

In addition, supporters at the March 5 event may contribute to the Camp OAC “bursary fund,” which is used to help send kids to camp who may not otherwise afford to take part.

Opening the evening of music for Valdy will be ‘Poppa’ Keith Thom a gifted singer songwriter who also fills the role of Camp Owaissi executive director.  Thom is a delightful man with a superb voice and charming stage presence.

I have been asked to serve as master-of-ceremonies for the evening and did not hesitate for a second in case the offer was withdrawn.

Not only am I obviously a huge supporter of the wonderful facility, but Valdy has long been a hero and inspiration to me.

Tickets are available at the door or in advance.

For more informationcall 250-769-3676 or go to www.campoac.com.

Doors open at 6 p.m. (check out the many amazing silent auction items) with the concert running until 9 p.m.

The event is designed for all ages so bring the family.

***

Speaking of wonderful music, I happened down to one of my favourite music venues, The Blue Gator, on Wednesday night and was pleasantly entertained by a new band (at least, new to me and relatively new to each other) in the form of Easy Fix.

I can’t say I was surprised by the quality of what I heard because knowing one of the members of the band left me fully expected the ensemble to be good.

Gary Smyth has been tastefully dancing his nimble fingers over guitar frets since, well, forever and his fine craftsmanship is only exceeded by his passion for playing.

For the past couple of weeks he’s been attempting to drag my lazy butt out of the house and down to the Gator for a mid-week night of tunes and happily I finally conceded.

Smyth (of The Cruzeros and Cowboy Bob fame) has joined forces with some equally impressive musicians and clearly Easy Fix has an easy time making wonderful music together.

Of a different blush, however, is that as part of Easy Fix, Smyth plunks away on the bass guitar rather than his normal running of riffs on the lead guitar.

Easy Fix also features a talented Eric Hatchey on lead and some vocals, Scott Grant on the drum kit, Dana Barnes performs some tasty tinkling of the ivories on synthesizer and keyboard and also shares lead vocals with the entertaining and charming Lorill Jensen.

With an enjoyable blend of Motown, MOR, and straight forward rock and roll, Easy Fix gives audiences plenty of familiar tunes to dance to and sing along with.

Do yourself a favour and check them out at the Gator every second Wednesday.

Well done boys and girl.

***

A bonus to my visit to the Lawrence Avenue live music haven was sharing a cold pint and several memories with former Kelowna resident and talented bass player Jeff Cheek and his wonderful wife and outstanding person Pat.

It’s been at least 15 years since I last chatted with Jeff—way, way too long. Music fans will remember him as the competent and witty bass player with the popular rock band Sea Cruise, the precursor to The Cruzeros, and prior to that with the Shuswap area based bluegrass band Kickwillie.

 

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