A long-running Gabriola Island charity concert is making the move to the internet.
For 23 years the Gabriola Lions Club has presented its biggest annual fundraiser, Concert on the Green, which routinely draws more than 1,000 music fans to the Gabriola Golf and Country Club and raises more than $30,000 each year. This year, due to COVID-19, the event is being postponed for the first time.
“We’ve never even been rained on before,” Gabriola Lions Club president Betsy Banford said.
When Gabriola musician and radio host Dave Teichroeb learned that this year’s concert was being pushed back until 2021, he was disappointed. He said the Lions have funded countless programs on the island but without Concert on the Green their ability to support those causes could be at risk.
“They’re probably the longest mainstay group in our community that collects and redistributes money,” he said. “They’re really just a clearing house for people making donations to the community. They give scholarships to the schools, they helped our bus, they helped build the medical centre, it’s just endless. I couldn’t even list them all.”
At the time, Teichroeb was involved in sponsoring the Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce’s live-streamed performing arts festival Couch Fest. Then one day it occurred to him: “I sat up in bed one morning and I said, ‘Concert on the Screen,’” he said. Then he set off to work creating a virtual version of Concert on the Green.
On Aug. 13 Concert on the Screen will be broadcast via the online videoconferencing platform Zoom. The show will feature music by Tomorrow Never Knows: A Beatles Homage, a group of Gabriola musicians including drummer Andreas Kahre, bassist Kelly Field, guitarists Frank Sehr and Fraser Gabot, keyboardist Ian Cox and vocalists David Botten, Chris Doherty, Jennefer Laidley and Gabot. There will also be some surprise special guests. Teichroeb said the most important part is that the money raised will support the Lions and their work in the community.
Teichroeb said he chose to organize a Beatles tribute because like the Lions, COVID-19 forced him to call off a concert as well: a charity show that was supposed to happen this summer called Kelly Hates the Beatles.
“We have a bass player here on the island, Kelly Field. He plays with just about everybody, he’s like the main go-to bass player but he adamantly always says he hates the Beatles…” Teichroeb said. “And he thought it would just be fun to have this [concert.] He would buck up, he would suck it up and learn some Beatles tunes and play Beatles with his friends.”
Although that concert was ultimately cancelled, Field will still get to submit to the Fab Four in the Concert on the Screen.
Banford said she was “super excited” when Teichroeb approached her about putting on an online version of Concert on the Green. She said a lot of groups rely on the Lions for funding and she can’t picture herself turning anyone down.
“We don’t keep any money so if we don’t raise any money on the Concert on the Green, there’s nothing to give out,” she said. “And I think this year is going to be a very hard year for a lot of associations here on the island.”
WHAT’S ON … Concert on the Screen goes live via Zoom on Aug. 13 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, available here.