Bend Sinister - Jordan Klassen - Bear Mountain - Dear Rouge - Hey Ocean! - The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer - K-Os - July Talk + more
Photography by Jenn McInnis of www.creativecopperimages.com
#SingItFwd was founded in 2011 by David and Ambrosia Vertesi in support of the Saint James Music Academy (SJMA). After attending for our first time this year, it quickly became clear why this event has been so successful. From the amazing renowned musical acts featured, to the pull-on-your-heartstrings performances by the children of SJMA, hearing they’ve raised over $100,000 in the past three years comes as no surprise. For those who haven’t heard of the SJMA, it’s a Vancouver program that offers music instruction to children living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, at no cost to the students’ families. The program aims to provide social change through music with classes five days a week. The classes go beyond classic music training by also providing daily meals and social support for the children. The goal this year was to raise an additional $40,000 for this fantastic cause in order to help the SJMA secure their own facility for the 2016 school year. If you’re interested in donating to the SJMA please visit www.sjma.ca/donate.
The night started off with Bend Sinister’s Don’t You Know, which immediately got the audience moving. The choir from the SJMA joined the band onstage, adding an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm to the performance. Bend Sinister closed with Things Will Get Better and the next act, Jordan Klassen, took the stage. Each musical act did three songs, making for quick set changes. Klassen's folk-pop music had cool tempo changes, unique vocals, and shimmering harmonies.
Between each set different videos of the #SingItFwd bands and the students of SJMA played, a humorous and enjoyable addition to the performance.
Eight year old Ava Knight came onstage next to sing Reflection to a watery-eyed crowd. Seriously? An adorable little girl singing an amazing cover? There was no way our cash was staying in our pockets.
Bear Mountain played next, an acoustic set sans laptop that was really unique to see. The crowd loved the toned down set, and again the addition of the SJMA choir really added to the performance. Bear Mountain was followed by the surprise guest of the evening Hannah Georgas. Her cover of Stay by Rihanna had the crowd singing along, (some louder than others).
The SJMA strings ensemble took the stage next to perform a wonderful cover of Wayfarin’ Stranger, with each soloist doing an amazing job. The young female vocal soloist really impressed, and while we didn’t get her name, we’re sure we’ll be hearing more from her.
The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer played next, an amazing bluesy set that was sultry, groovy, and filled with wicked harmonica solos. Then, just as you were getting into your sweaty, dusty groove, the high-energy rock group July Talk came on stage and got everyone going crazy.
A really special treat for the night was seeing K-Os, playing hit songs like Man I Used to Be. It was clear that even David Vertesi himself felt a little starstruck in the rapper's presence.
The band showcases were concluded with Hey Ocean!’s bubblegum-pop goodness, with further engagement by the SJMA choir. At the end of their set they invited all the musicians from the night back on stage to perform Somebody to Love, which was highly adored by the audience. It was such a perfect song to end such an inspiring and uplifting evening with.
Be sure to keep your eyes out for tickets to next year's event. If you're a fan of the Canadian music scene, this is one concert you won't want to miss. As mentioned above, if you'd like to donate to the Saint James Music Academy, please visit www.sjma.ca/donate.