Hodgepodge by Charlie Hodge: Wasn’t that a party?

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Hodgepodge

By Charlie Hodge.

Wasn’t that a party?

Over an eight hour stretch some 130 plus of our friends joined Tez and I for annual long weekend barbeque on Sunday. As always it was a fun filled frenzy involving wonderful fellowship, frivolity, food and of course – live music. The annual barbeque has been going on for 20 plus years however over the past dozen years the event has continued to grow in size and surprises including those who visit our backyard stage to play. With no agenda or plan we simply throw up a PA (thanks Curtis) and let the fun begin.

Without failure the music proves amazing as talented friend after talented friend get up and spoil the crowd with their skill. Without any plan there is often a rookie or young musician who finds the courage to step up to the microphone at some point during the night.

This year it was Lucas Wentworth.

Yup, the last name gives away the end result.

Fourteen year old Lucas literally wowed the crowd in the backyard as he played three or four original tunes while hammering away on the keyboard. You know you are doing well when you can hear a pin drop for a second or two when the music ends.

In typical confident yet humble Wentworth style young Lucas shook off the applause and back patting afterwards as if he had just finished walking the dog or cleaned up the dishes. He was tickled pink a yard full of professional musicians were so enthralled, simply suggesting he can’t wait for next year as he has, “a couple of even better songs” which he’d not performed.

Among the plethora of talent to climb on stage was lifelong pals Randall Robinson and Jimmy LeGuilloux who gave us a taste of what to expect in two weeks.

Randall, along with Jimmy and two dozen other gifted Okanagan artists are presenting an amazing rock-opera performance of TOMMY.

Robinson and musical soul-mate Pat Brown (of Ten2Nine fame) recently wrote and directed a tremendous rock-opera The Raft to tremendous reviews. After taking in a dress rehearsal last week of The Who’s Tommy – I guarantee thespian fans will be amazed by the latest project. On stage will be the brilliant Pat Brown, Natasha Daly, Josh Richardson, John Van Dyk, LeGuilloux, Annie Gosling-Scott and yet another rookie to the stage Mitchell Lynch-Brown as Tommy.

Despite this year marking the 50th anniversary of Tommy both Robinson and Brown consider the rock opera timeless.

For Pat Brown the event is even more meaning as he gets to be on stage with son Mitchell who nails the title role.

“I am so proud of him. Nothing rattles him,” Pat smiles as he watches Mitchell from the sidelines. “Mitch goes into every single rehearsal and pours his heart into the role. He’s a natural, no question.”

Pat retired from the stage a few years ago however the opportunity to sing with Mitchell brought him back into the line and lights. “Originally I had zero interest in the show cause I saw the Tommy movie, which was horrible. When Mitch got the role, I figured, ‘this might be the only chance to do a show with Mitch and so I jumped in. So glad I did cause now I love the music and the show,” Brown says.

The on stage singing, dancing and acting cast are joined by an eight-piece band. The must not miss show is set for at Kelowna Community Theatre from Sept. 12-15.

***

Speaking of humble but effective – a shout-out thank you to my friend and brother Dick Auty.

Freemasons are typically low-key and unassuming in their good works yet every now and again one of them is publicly recognized. On Thursday at Government House, Victoria, the province’s Lieutenant Governor awarded Kelowna’s Dick Auty the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, in recognition of Dick’s 21 year record of service for the Masonic Cancer Car program in the Okanagan Valley.

The cancer car service has transited 8,000 individuals to radiation and chemotherapy treatments since 1998, making 10,000 patient trips/year. Masonic cancer vehicles are in Penticton, Vernon, Kamloops, and Kelowna, with more than 180 drivers and 20 people handling dispatch. People are driven from their homes to chemo or radiation treatment and home again; some visiting from out of town stay at the Cancer Society’s lodge.

Dick was important in founding the Okanagan cancer car program and has been with it since its inception. He typically puts in between 25 to 30 hours a week and has been doing so continuously for 21 years.

He schedules the drivers and dispatchers, does the accounting, pays bills, keeps vehicles maintained and handles all of the issues of personnel and cars that may arise.

Rod Macintosh was a dispatcher for 11 years, and nominated Dick for the award. “If it wasn’t for Dick, I don’t think the program would have gotten off the ground, nor would it have been sustained. It isn’t the hours he puts in, it’s the diverse things he has to deal with in those hours. Everything from being a maintenance manager to a diplomat.”

Well done Brother.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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