We were a small and mighty crowd. Together, we laughed and sang and listened to the performers with our hearts wide-open and in the midst of it all, we connected on the common ground of wanting to make a difference in the lives of those who once served their country and then found themselves far from home, lost and alone in that place called homeless.
It’s the thing about homelessness. It doesn’t care who you are or where you’ve come from. Once it finds you on the streets, it drains you of all sense of direction and leaves you feeling lost and alone in the land of no fixed address.
Last night, we gathered to celebrate the music of performers who gave up their time to share their talents at the 3rd Annual Christmas at The Madison Benefit Concert. We were housed and living the homeless experience, and it didn’t matter. The music found us. It stirred our hearts and opened our imaginations to the possibility of what can happen when people come together as one and share their talents, time and treasures.
Last night we raised over $1,500 to support formerly homeless veterans living at The Madison. It was a divine evening filled with great sounds that lifted our spirits and made everyone present feel part of something special and divine!
Thank you to all the performers:
Brian Pearson (and thank you Brian for being ‘The Sound Guy’. You are a wonderful gift to the world)
and to our speakers:
Detective John Langford
You all rocked the house and shone a light for the world to see beyond the label homeless into the heart of our shared human experience where we are connected to one another, no matter where we live. Take a moment please and click on the links in the names above — Like them on Facebook, buy their music and books, support them however you can. They are all uber talented and generous of heart and deserve to be heard the world over!
And thank you to the beautiful, kind-hearted Tamara Van Staden and her talented mother, Bev Boyden Van Staden who together form Heartprints — Kids for a Cause Foundation. I met Tamara when she was in grade seven and wanted to do a fund-raiser for a school project. Now in her third year university, Tamara has raised over $10,000 selling her home-crafted jewellery and knitted designs.
Big thanks also to Lynn McKeown at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church and my generous of spirit friend, Tamara Zaleski. For the past week, Tamara and I have been making Christmas cards to sell at the concert. We’re thinking of changing our art collective name from the Basement Bombshells to The Glitter Gals! (just kidding) — but, my studio is awash in shiny, sparkly glitter, and all the good times we shared creating.
And thank you Megan Eichhorn for the wonderful poster design, Jim Ellis at Petrotech Printing for the help in printing the postcards, my daughter, Liseanne McDonald for her help organizing and staging the concert and Jenny Howe of CBC Radio and Craig Lester of 660 NEWS Radio for helping promote the event. And of course, Kathy Christiansen at Alpha House for the wonderful treats — and for the awesome work you and your team does of caring for homeless Calgarians. You make a difference every minute of every day in so many people’s lives, and you do it with such grace and love and kindness. Thank you.
And of course, to my beloved C.C. who so willingly supports me in whatever way he can — and then has the grace to know when to move out of my way when I’m on a mission! I can be a tad focused at times and forget that others may not see what I see or know what I need (partially because I forget to tell them..:) ). Thank you C.C. for being who you are and for encouraging and supporting me with such love!
Three years ago I started the Christmas at the Madison Benefit Concert as a way to pay tribute to my father, and to support Kathy and her team at Alpha House who manage the programs and services at The Madison. Each year my sisters and friends have come out to support the concert and I am always touched by how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life.
I have worked in the homeless sector here in Calgary for almost 10 years and throughout that time, Kathy has inspired me with her compassion, passion and capacity to honour the humanity at the heart of homelessness. Every day, Kathy, who is the Executive Director at Alpha House and her team create safe and courageous spaces for people to find themselves, no matter where they are, on or off the street. Kathy cares and in her caring, she makes the world a better place.
As C.C. said when our heads hit the pillow, it was a great event, I think you may want to check the schedule for the Grey Cup when you schedule next year’s.
And in the end, it didn’t matter if the Grey Cup was on or not. As Brian Pearson said before the concert, those who are supposed to be here, will be here. He’s right. Those who came shared in creating something special and have started a ripple that will continue to move out and change the world.
Together, we can end homelessness. Together, we do make a difference.