When singer-songwriter Kelly Hopkins realized there would be no Christmas concert to benefit the food banks, she went to her computer and sent an email to other area talents, seeking interest in taking part in a concert.
In the true spirit of giving, several performers replied immediately and the result is A Very Merry Christmas, a concert to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank.
“The Observer agreed to donate professionally designed posters and handbills and I volunteer at the Second Harvest and know how great the need is, especially at this time of year,” wrote Hopkins.
Carlin Hall officials hopped on board, donating the hall for the concert that will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.
Thrilled with the response, Hopkins says the Christmas concert has grown to include seven acts performing three songs each – or stories in James Murray’s case.
Happy to join Blu and Kelly in donating their time and talent are Duane Stewart, The Stevens Family, Sharon Dyck, James Murray, Larry and Jane Stephenson, and The Dust Puppets.
In his earlier years Stewart was regularly featured on CBC radio and TV and recorded for both the Capitol and London labels.
Dedication to a teaching career demanded more and more of his time, but a 2003 move to the Shuswap inspired him to focus again on singing.
Since then, in addition to solo performances, he spent two-and-a-half years sharing lead vocals and playing lead guitar and five-string banjo with a country/gospel trio. His baritone-tenor range wraps around a large repertoire of cowboy, country gospel and traditional folk/country songs.
Larry and Jane Stephenson love music that tells a tale and are drawn to old-time, traditional, gospel, bluegrass, folk and roots genres.
Larry (guitar/banjo/vocals) and Jane (guitar/mandolin/ vocals) are a popular act at coffee houses throughout the Shuswap.
The Dust Puppets have played acoustic country, gospel, blues and folk music in the Shuswap for more than 15 years. They are Garth Baumann on mandolin and vocals, David King on guitar and vocals, Elda Firth on standup washtub, bass and vocals and Ken Firth on harmonica, percussion and vocals
Armed with world- class banjo drive, tight family harmony and engaging stage presence, The Stevens Family bluegrass band will serve up a tasty mix of bluegrass and roots music. Chris Stevens is a sought-after session musician and a seasoned award-winning entertainer. He is celebrated as one of the country’s top banjo players and has performed with such greats as K.D. Lang and bluegrass legends Kenny Baker and Josh Graves.
Stevens has brought together three generations of his family to make up the Chris Stevens Family Bluegrass Band.
From the moment storyteller James Murray walks out onto the stage he has an impact on his audiences, whether making them laugh, bringing a tear to their eye, or simply bringing back some precious memories.
For the past two years Murray has shared the stage with violinist/accompanist Aimee Balloun. Balloun is a multi-talented, multi-award winning musician who brings a special feeling to Murray’s stories.
Sharon Dyck is a longtime Shuswap resident, who has played at many of the local coffee houses and fundraising events “and as many house jams as possible.”
She sings, plays guitar and mandolin, mostly folk and bluegrass style. Dyck will be joined on stage by bass player Diane Jewell.
Wrapping up a busy fall, Blu and Kelly Hopkins have completed a Vancouver Island tour and several closer-to-home appearances.
Award-winning singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Blu has been travelling in true troubadour fashion, writing songs and performing them for more than 30 years.
Kelly is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, her songs ranging from rollicking fun to heartfelt and poignant ballads.
The concert is designed to be a down home, Christmas party for friends to enjoy the season and each other, while giving to those in need of a helping hand.
Admission is free but donations of non-perishable food for Second Harvest are encouraged.
The “Carlin Hall ladies” will supply coffee, tea and home baking by donation.