During the night of February 27, 2012, thieves broke into the Factory Media Centre in Hamilton, and according to Cheryl Blakeney, Arts Administrator at the Factory Media Centre, they "made away with pretty much everything we use to operate the organization and generate income: hard drives and computers - including four post production workstations for workshop students - even the projector we use for screenings. Much of it was brand new."
The theft was a huge blow to the Centre
and the dedicated people behind it. Founded in 2004, this not-for-profit, artist-driven resource centre needed at least $5000 to cover unexpected expenses from the robbery. That's when many involved in the Art and Music community of Hamilton stepped in and volunteered their services at no charge to host one of the most successful fundraisers ever on April 29th.
The folks who run Gallery 205 on Canon Street
kindly offered their gorgeous and newly expanded facilities for the event. Attendees donated what they could at the door, and were invited to participate in a silent auction that offered a fabulous variety of items e.g a night at the Hamilton Sheraton including breakfast and a bottle of wine, tickets to the upcoming Johnny Reid Concert, beautiful paintings by local artists and comprehensive car care packages just to name a few.
Supportive locals came out in droves and their attendance was rewarded with one of the most musically entertaining nights Hamilton has seen. There was music everywhere. One could relax on the soft couches around the smaller stage in the front "Acoustic Room" where singer/songwriters like Binbrook's Robin Benedict
(who placed in the top 100 of Canadian Idol a few years back) delivered her riveting, Joplin-esque originals, or the upcoming duo, The Wilts
, teased us with their original song about drinking Jack in a tune titled "Lips". If patrons wanted a break from the music, they could chill out in "the Marilyn Room" and enjoy private conversation to a mixture of mixed genre music supplied by a local DJ.
But if attendees wanted lots of variety and excitement, they found it on the main stage in the fantastic new quarters located at the back end of Gallery 205, new home to Dave Beatty of the renowned QED Media
. The huge recently built stage was ablaze both with its multicoloured lighting and rock bands like the young Dawn Before Descent
and later, Weekend Riot Club,
winners of the 2010 Rising Star Hamilton Music Award with lead singer, the huge-voiced Melissa Marchese.
Steve Parton's great band, the Relics
opened the night, and closing the night was a band I didn't get to see but was told was simply wonderful,Eclectic Revival
, who combine music and comedy for great entertainment. Also gracing the stage and and in strong contrast to the other fine musicians, was the multi-award-winning singer/songwriter duo of AndrewVictoria,
who recently placed in the top 36 of Toronto contestants who competed in Canada's Got Talent.
Their opening number, "The Heat is On" really said it all about this fantastic musical fundraising event.
, with a little help from Andrew Rudd
(of AndrewVictoria) controlled the sound and the quality was first class, giving all a look at what Dave will be offering Hamilton in the months ahead in his new facility at Gallery 205. We are in for a treat and all of us are looking forward to Dave's videos of each of the bands on that main stage.
Of the evening, Cheryl recently told me "From the moment this happened, we've been consistently awed and inspired by the generosity of the arts community and the public in Hamilton e.g people like Alex Zafer, David Beatty at the gang at Gallery 205 who not only opened up their facility to us but ran the show behind the scenes. Amazing!"
While I cannot yet disclose just how much money was raised, I do know the evening was a resounding success financially as well as musically. That goal of $5000 was reached and surpassed. Kudos to all who made this event so successful and proved yet again that we live in a great city with a lot of heart.