By GALEN EAGLE , EXAMINER STAFF WRITER
Stepping into a packed reception after the show, Bob Gainey pointed to a room filled with his family, his friends, his community and a star-studded lineup of Canadian musicians.
That’s what the annual show was all about, he said. It’s not about the money, he was quick to add.
Over the last three years the annual A Night with Gainey Family and Friends has now garnered more than $325,000 for the Gainey Foundation, making it the single largest donor to the charity.
But bringing together people and entertaining them has always been the concert’s over-arching goal, Gainey said.
“It’s a very easy event for us to walk into and act like we’re very important, but it’s the community that puts it on for us and really the performers,” Gainey said after the three-hour show wrapped up at Showplace Sunday night.
“We want to make a little bit of money to feed back into this community and see the people have a lot of fun.”
That’s exactly what happened last night as a an impressive lineup including John McDermott, The Spades, The Abrams Brothers and comedian and MC Steve Patterson dished out memorable performances.
“The performers tonight astonished the crowd and kept us all captivated for three hours,” Gainey said, thanking concert organizer Ed Arnold for another successful show. “I think that’s the bottom line. The people that come here really enjoy it and have fun.”
None of the performers accept a fee to perform in the show. The cause is what motivates each performer to attend, McDermott said backstage.
“I do it for Bob,” the three-time Gainey concert performer said. “A lot of the people out there are good friends. The concert has a kind of family feel to it. It’s a fun show.”
The Gainey Foundation began three years ago in memory of Gainey’s daughter, Laura, and wife, Cathy, to help young people access youth programs with a focus on arts and environment education.
Anna Gainey, the foundation’s executive director, said the concert is a cornerstone to the foundation’s fundraising activity each year.
“It’s both beneficial in terms of the money it raises but also in terms of the opportunity to bring people together,” she said. “It’s been a kind of organic, evolving thing.”
During an onstage interview with CBC’sThe Hourhost George Stroumboulopoulos, Anna Gainey announced the foundation would be making a donation to the Canada Wide Science Fair being held in Peterborough in May at Trent University.
Given the financial tough medicine Canadians will have to swallow in the upcoming years, charities such as the Gainey Foundation are going to become more important as arts and enviro n m e nt a l funding becomes harder to attain, Anna Gainey said.
“I suspect the demand for us will go up and hopefully we’ll be able to meet those demands,” she said.
An early highlight of Sunday night’s show was the energetic performance by the Kingston trio The Abrams Brothers who brought their blend of bluegrass and contemporary rock.
“That is the way music is supposed to be played,” MC Patterson said after the band’s three-song set.
Local singer Sarah Edwards sent goose bumps throughout the crowd with her rendition of Leonard Cohen’sHallelujah.
“It’s really exciting just to meet everyone,” she said before going on stage with the Barry Haggarty All Star Band.
James McKenty and The Spades turned up the volume with their singleThe Revenge of Johnny Laundrywhile Stroumboulopoulos slowed things down with an intimate interview with the Gainey family.
Colleen Gainey spoke about her sister Laura, who died three years ago.
“Sometimes I just think she would totally be dancing at the back of this place and I try to do that for,” she said. “Laura was a unique spirit and she was outspoken and she was driven for her dreams. When I think of her, I think about the 25-years of life I got with her and what she taught me.”
Patterson had the crowds laughing throughout the show and his own stand-up act. As a nod to St. Patrick’s Day, he performed an Irish drinking song, accusing his father of over-selling their Irish heritage.
A bad cold kept the winner of this year’s Examiner song contest, Lindsay’s Madison Kozak, from performing live. But the 13- year-old bravely stepped on stage to introduce a video clip of her singing the winning song – How Will I Know.
“I’m going to be depressed all March break,” the Grade 8 student laughed as she received a loud ovation for her efforts.
The event also featured Royal Wood, the Peterborough Pop Ensemble, Jackson Delta, the Barry Haggarty All Star Band, Elyse Saunders and Cyril Rawson, the 4th Line Theatre Players/Rob Winslow, Gainey family member Kris Newby, Lisa Brokop and husband Paul Jefferson, Russell deCarle and author and Globe and Mail columnist Roy MacGregor.
Note: MCSteve Patterson thanked the sponsors for the evening. Those included host sponsorGEand major sponsors Pepsi QTG, Royal Bank and Dominion Securities, ReMax (John Bowes, John Sinacori, Shirley McDowellandTeam Schofield), Peterborough Pro Hockey AlumniandThe Peterborough Examiner.