Beats Interviews

Band Strictly Hip, Gord Downie fans raise $10K for Downie Wenjack Fund

Days before what would’ve been Gord Downie’s birthday, Hip fans came together to sing, dance and raise money for the Downie Wenjack Fund.

This time, when Jeremy Hoyle sang “That night in Toronto, with its checkerboard floors,” he was standing in the room that inspired The Tragically Hip to write those words.

On Friday, February 2, a few hundred people gathered in the back room of the Horseshoe Tavern to kick off the FamilyBand Benefit Concerts, an anticipated series of shows in which the Strictly Hip would perform favourites from the Tragically Hip after being introduced by a territory acknowledgement and music from indigenous groups.

As mentioned previously, these shows are a joint effort between Strictly Hip, the Buffalo, N.Y.-based band fronted by Hoyle, and Rob Ferreira, formerly of the Courage for Gord organization and now a member of the Downie Wenjack Fund. The spirit of the evening: to “Shine a light” and bring together people of various communities and backgrounds in the name of good music, friendship and reconciliation.

The event was a resounding success: More than $9,400 was raised, through ticket sales, donations, raffle tickets and t-shirt sales.

“Gord dedicated his legacy to creating lasting, positive change in Canada and we are committed to making Gord proud as he begins his new journey,” Ferreira wrote Monday evening. “Using music, our goal is to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous together in the spirit of reconciliation. We were honoured to have our friends Jason Rocky Carter, also known as Bear Standing Tall, and the Ashunyung Singers, led by Jacob Charles, join us as we embraced a tradition and culture that make up a huge part of this country, and for that we could not be more proud.”

Jeremy and Rob were kind enough to join me for a brief conversation following the show Friday night.

More information on the FamilyBand Benefit Concerts is available here.

Jeremy Hoyle, left, and Rob Ferreira are hoping the next show in the FamilyBand Benefit Concert series will be outside, in warmer weather, drawing an even bigger crowd of families and music lovers alike.

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