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Christmas concert makes live comeback for Okotoks Food Bank

Okotoks Food Bank Christmas Concert to offer in-person and online viewing, pay tribute to late organizer John Fraser
SA Food Bank XMAS Concert 2019 2539
Cowboy poet Doris Daley delivers some of her signature spoken word during the 2019 Okotoks Food Bank Christmas Concert at the Evangelical Free Church. Daley will be returning for the 2021 concert, along with a host of other returning favourites and newcomers. (File photo Brent Calver/Western Wheel)

The Okotoks Food Bank Christmas Concert makes its in-person return this month.

Featuring returning favourites as well as new acts for the in-person shows on Dec. 14 and 15, organizers also plan to offer the concert virtually for those who can’t make it.

“We are just so excited to bring music to our community—the concert has existed for 15 years,” said organizing committee member Dacy Zacharias.

“We’re so thankful to be raising money for the food bank, and it’s really grown, but it’s still really grassroots and we’re just a group of volunteers that love music and love supporting the food bank because it just hits home for everybody.”

The concert will also pay tribute to longtime organizer John Fraser, who passed away in August.

“It’s been a little difficult losing John, but our planning team met this fall and we had spoken with the Fraser family,” Zacharias said. “They gave us their blessing and were extremely happy that we wanted to keep going.

“We feel like the Food Bank’s not going anywhere, there’s lots of need there, so we want to continue on in John’s honour.”

Last year’s concert was entirely virtual, with performers recording their own contributions and the event being streamed online. Despite that limitation, Zacharias said it was a huge success.

“We didn’t even miss a beat last year, we still found a way to make it work,” she said.

The chance to bring live music back was a big deal for the committee.

“This year, more than ever, it's just about being able to bring music to our community,” Zacharias said.

“Music has been hit so hard with COVID, and I have to give a big shout out to our performers, because musicians have been one of the hardest hit professions.

“All of these people have stepped up and said they would love to perform, and they’re still giving their craft and their talents to the community.”

Among the lineup is Caroline "Lady C." Fraser, Mike King, Brettyn Rose, MzBehavin, Forseth and Funk, Stuart Kelly & Jim Taylor, The Little Head Butts, Lucky Sonne, Al Doc Mehl, Doris Daley, and more.

Making that happen has been tricky with ever-changing restrictions.

“We have had a lot of hurdles this year with COVID and rules changing,” Zacharias said.

“It’s been a wild ride to say the least.”

The venue is operating at one third capacity, so seating and tickets will be limited.

The in-person concert takes place at the Okotoks Evangelical Free Church on Dec. 14 and 15 from 7-10 p.m. each night.

Tickets will not be sold at the door and are only available online through EventBrite as organizers need to keep track of numbers.

They are $25 each and can be purchased at https://bit.ly/3DaxphU

The virtual concert tickets will be available for purchase all month and the video will be available from Dec. 20 to Jan. 3. 

Tickets to view the virtual recording are $20 each and can be purchased at https://bit.ly/3IiBBjN

Similar to last year, Zacharias added tickets are being given for free to seniors living in long-term care.

All funds raised go to the Okotoks Food Bank.


Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Okotoks Western Wheel and OkotoksToday.ca
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