It’s a concert two years in the making for a community centre several decades in the making.
On April 20, local singer Christie Grace, local drummer Buff Allen and a top-notch crew of other Vancouver musicians, will play a benefit concert for the proposed community centre.
“The center’s at a stage now where we really want to keep the momentum going,” says Grace. “So this is a way to really keep the energy around it.”
Though Grace and Bowen Island Arts Council had discussed doing the show in 2018, due to renovations in Cove Commons and musicians’ busy schedules, the concert had to be pushed back by a year. So next week, the islander of 23 years will play her first show in Cove Commons.
The jazz singer and songwriter, who has three albums under her belt, is excited about the quintet gathering for the show, including Bill Sample on piano, Laurence Mollerup on the bass, Tim Porter on guitar and Buff Allen on the drums.
“We love each other. We love to play together. That’s what we do,” says Grace.
“This is celebration,” she says. “This is my year of really coming back too.”
Grace has had some health problems over the past few years, which have hampered her ability to sing.
“I released my album a couple of years ago but I’ve still been doing recoveries in between,” she says.
Complications from a more-than-a-decade-old root canal have required 16 surgeries over the past few years and at one point, Grace wasn’t sure she’d sing again.
But she’s back now (in the spotlight rather – Grace is quick to say she never left the island).
For the April 20 concert, Grace says to expect songs of love and renewal and new beginnings. She says they’ll explore the american songbook, Joni Mitchell, Norma Winstone and even some of her own material from her most recent album, 2017’s Golden Thread.
She says she hopes to see a crowd to support a project she’s supported since arriving on Bowen.
“With the exceptional talent that we have on this island, we have so many really wonderful musicians who don’t have a proper venue,” she said. “And so I think, first and foremost, we are deserving of that.
“To have a place where our actors and our musicians, and film and writers, can have a proper stage with proper acoustics with proper instruments with proper lighting, proper seating, I think that’s pretty important. And it has been a long time coming.”
“A centre would be so vital to, to the, to the pulse, it’s like the heartbeat, I think, really, it’s kind of like the kitchen of a home that’s been missing here.”
The benefit concert will be April 20, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 or $40 at the door, available online at thehearth.ca or at the Gallery at Cove Commons.