Music with a purpose

Local roots group to host 2nd annual charity event

The Victoria Cool Aid Society’s Every Step Counts program is about to get a boost thanks to a group of local musicians.

Roots band Children of Celebrities is getting set to host its second annual Christmas Cabaret, a holiday-themed concert dedicated to raising money for local charities.

Every Step Counts is a running and walking program which helps people dealing with a variety of mental health, addiction and housing challenges. The program’s benefits are wide-ranging, from improved fitness to higher levels of self-esteem and greater confidence in the ability to make healthy lifestyle choices.

“We’ve had a long-standing interest in trying to do something positive that helps with people that are trying to make a go of it, living on the street, and being housed in some of the programs around town,” said Rob Egan, who plays guitar and percussion and sings in the band.

“We find that Cool Aid in particular is a very credible organization to work with, so we know when we work with them the money’s going to go to the right place.”

The band also has a special connection to Cool Aid. Egan’s bandmate Mike Raymer is a senior social service worker with the organization.

Last year’s Christmas Cabaret raised $1,600, which was split between a pair of charities. This year the group hopes to double that amount.

In addition to the self-described “enviro-lounge cowboy music” of Children of Celebrities, the evening will feature performances by three other groups. The harmony-laden Four on the Floor are the only act returning from last year’s cabaret. They will be joined by guitar-and-violin duo Mowbray and Mills and rhythm and blues specialists Queenie and the Groove Kings, who will wind things up.

“We wanted to close the night with a band that was a little more uptempo, who would get people dancing,” said Egan.

This year’s event will also feature a Mexican theme, so don’t be surprised if Feliz Navidad winds up in the set list at some point. And with so many talented musicians in one place, there’s a very good chance of some impromptu collaboration.

“That’s always a possibility,” said Egan. “There are bound to be some surprises this year.”

The Christmas Cabaret goes Saturday (Nov. 19) at the Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Tickets cost $20 and are available at the door or at the following locations: the Spiral Cafe, 418 Craigflower Rd.; Westshore Hearing Solutions in the Westshore Shopping Centre; Sneakers Computers, 880C Esquimalt Rd. and 847 Goldstream Ave.; Frontrunners, 1200 Vancouver St.; and online at www.childrenofcelebrities.com.

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