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Edmonton women of songWomen of Song

Edmonton musicians band together for annual breast cancer fundraiser

By Andrea Wong

Breast cancer awareness month is quickly approaching, which means that a certain group of female artists will be returning to the stage on Oct. 2. Mics in hand, instruments at the ready, and strong looks of determination on their faces, these united Women of Song stand for a cause resonating close to their hearts.

Fifteen years ago, Edmonton musician Sophie Hunter was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. What followed was a series of treatments so intense, Hunter wasn’t sure which would kill her first. But the spirited blues singer refused to lay down without a fight. After a long and hard battle, Hunter prevailed as a breast cancer survivor. Ignited with a sharper focus on life, she sought to do something about breast cancer that could couple her passion for music.

“What I wanted to do is make it easier for other people that have to go through what I went through,” Hunter says. “What better way to give back than with something you do naturally?”

With that in mind, Hunter formed the idea for a benefit concert to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research. She was quickly joined by six of her friends, all local musicians ranging from blues to old-school rock to everything in between. At the heart of this seasoned music collective is a deep-seated desire to contribute to a worthy cause.

“The moment the event ended, we said we’ll be back next year,” says 40-year blues veteran Rita McDade. “Our hearts are enfolded in this whole thing, because it’s important to us. We’re there for Sophie and for all of those that are affected by this disease.”

Now as Women of Song comes upon its fourth year, the women could not be more pleased with the growing support the fundraiser has received. Last year they raised more than six thousand dollars, and this time they are hoping to give their largest donation yet.

“Every dotted penny goes back to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation”, says McDade.

The event has no budget, so it is entirely run by the women and anyone willing to help. From the supportive venue of The Gas Pump to the donated turkey dinners for the evening, the event’s success is powered by people believing in the cause.

“I don’t think any of us don’t know somebody who hasn’t been affected by cancer,” says soulful singer Lynne Chwyl, who is dedicating an emotion-filled song to the loved ones left behind. “It’s just a coming together of like-minded people to do whatever they can to support this.”

For Paula Perro, her personal connection to those with cancer made it a “no-brainer” to take part in the event each year. Her sultry blend of R&B, Soul and Funk are guaranteed to deliver “food for the soul”.

Another familiar face is Dale Ladouceur, an international musician whose contemporary style is as unique as the Chapman Stick she plays. With an eye for the human condition, Ladouceur’s original songs on strength, survival, and love bring a fresh perspective to the event.

Award-winning musician Angela Mackenzie will also be lending songs from her recent album, focusing particularly on encouraging openness and support. Mary Thomas will similarly tie her music back to the meaning of the event. The classic-rock power house uses her voice to raise breast cancer awareness not just for women, but men as well.

As preparations are underway and everyone pulls together, you can sense the anticipation, especially from Hunter, who is “over the moon” with excitement.

Her delight is especially credited to the limited edition CD’s donated by DanLyn Studios. The CD contains songs performed by each artist and is available at the event for a minimum donation of 20 dollars.

Though Hunter is currently undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, her hopeful dedication is stronger than ever as she foresees the event carrying on for many years.

“I want to do this,” Hunter says. “I want to make life easier for men and women affected by breast cancer. I don’t want anybody to go through what I went through 15 years ago. That is the reason I’m doing it today.”

Tickets for the event are available for 25 dollars at The Gas Pump, Picture This! framing and gallery, or from the performing artists.

WOMEN OF SONG (left to right): Rita McDade, Lynne Chwyl, Angela Mackenzie, Mary Thomas, Sophie Hunter, Paula Perro, Dale Ladouceur

Photo credit: Aris Valpeteris

For more information on the musicians and their bands, visit their websites:

 

Sophie Hunter - https://www.reverbnation.com/sophieandtheshufflehounds

Rita McDade - http://fusionbluesband.com/

Lynne Chwyl - http://lynniesings.com/ 

Paula Perro - http://www.paulaperro.com/

Dale Ladouceur - http://www.crowtown.com/

Angela Mackenzie - http://angelamackenzie.ca/about/

Mary Thomas - https://www.reverbnation.com/themarythomasband

Edmonton Women of Song - Sunday Oct 2, 2016

 

EDMONTON WOMEN OF SONG

In support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

 

Date:THANK YOU! to all that attended!

Place: The Gas Pump 
10166 - 114 street, Edmonton

Time: 2 pm - 10pm

Featuring

  • LYNNE CHWYL
  • DALE LADOUCEUR
  • ANGELA MACKENZIE
  • RITA McDADE
  • PAULA PERRO
  • MARY THOMAS
  • SOPHIE HUNTER

hosted by 
TIM KOSLO

Tickets:  $25
available from:
-The Gas Pump 
-Picture This framing & gallery  (map online)

beside Royal Lepage at the gateway to Sherwood Park on Wye Rd

Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings!

Door prizes, 50/50 Draw

Silent Auction