Hodgepodge by Charlie Hodge – April 8th, 2018

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Hodge Podge By Charlie Hodge

I admit to a significant level of sinister suspicion while self searching my soul and sin level. Despite nearly 10 years involved in ‘small p’ politics I’m stunned how easily I drooled out a bold faced lie two months ago and held it secret for more than 45 days. It was too easy. Frightfully so.

I convinced myself it was okay since it was a ‘good lie’ one of those we somehow excusably justify as a ‘white lie’ – which I gather is somehow different from a ‘pink lie’ or ‘green lie’ or ‘blue lie’. Regardless, the lie slipped out of me with ease, like dirt creeps under a fingernail.

My lying skill even surprised Tez who listened as I spewed it forth to my eagerly unsuspecting friend.

I asked lifelong buddy Jim LeGuilloux to attend the Kelowna Civic Awards and accept an award on my behalf, suggesting I was out of town. I lathered the lie with soapy words how the award was related to my work in music and Jim, a professional musician, knew my past and was comfortable in front of crowds. Not sure why he figured I actually deserved such an award but he bought it anyway.

For two months Tez and I struggled to keep our secret silent, not daring to mention it in case word got out. The Anita Tozer is the highest honour a Kelowna resident can receive for lifelong commitment through volunteer work. It’s awarded by unanimous vote of City Council and kept secret until the night of the awards.

Jim perfectly fit the criteria. This year marks the 25th the talented singer, songwriter, recording artist, engineer and producer has organized and played the Rock4Kids day long concert to raise money for the KidsCare campaign. In 2017, the event brought in $18,000, pushing the total amount raised to $300,000 since Jim started.

That’s just the tip of the volunteer iceberg for Jimmy. He donated his talents both on stage and behind the scenes for ten years of Night of the Arts concerts (a fundraiser for homeless), and over the years has volunteered for various United Way events, cancer campaigns, awareness programs involving children, and those with special needs. LeGuilloux’s willingness to help others is unparalleled in the Okanagan music scene. One of the original musicians to volunteer to play Kelowna Pride (the precursor to our current Music in the Park program) Jim has been a part of Kelowna’s musical landscape for more than 30 years. Most recently he was part of the Rafts of Medusa and Rock of Ages musical-theatre shows.

Most importantly Jimmy has always been a huge asset to up and coming musicians by mentoring, teaching, coaching and being a top notch award-winning producer and engineer.

Making my fib even more fun, however, was the last minute need to replace the opening musical act for the awards night after the original group had to bail. With no time left on the clock Jimmy, once again unsuspecting of what was going to unfold, volunteered to play a few songs and lead the crowd in O’ Canada.

Watching the shocked look of total surprise on his face last week when he was announced the actual winner of the award was well worth the two months of suffered silence.
Well done and well deserved Jim.

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Speaking of winners in the music world – yet another local class act has been awarded for great work.
Wentworth Music has been named one of the Top 100 Music Stores and Music Schools in the World by NAMM (The National Association of Music Merchants)! Only five in Canada were awarded this distinction.

The award is based on, “community support and commitment to building the next generation of musicians, through opportunity, making a difference in people’s lives through music.
“While there are thousands of great NAMM member retail stores out there, a theme that emerges with this year’s Top 100 is an unwavering commitment to helping people of all ages begin their musical journey and then keep them actively engaged in music making for the long haul,” affirmed Joe Lamond, NAMM President and CEO.

Way to go Noel Wentworth and family. Your hard work with youth and the community is greatly valued.

*

Last but not least a warm memorial event is planned May 9 for former well known Kelowna citizen Ken Harding. At 11 a.m. at Kinsmen Park the K-40 and Kelowna Kinsmen Club along City representatives, friends and family manager will gather to honour Ken. A picnic table will be presented to the Harding family and placed permanently in the park acknowledging Harding’s many years of love and dedication to Kelowna.

Truly a Kelowna icon Ken was active in nearly everything including: President of the Chamber of Commerce, a Rotarian, Central Okanagan Foundation, founding member of Bursary and Scholarship Society, B.C.I.T., United Way, Bold Horizons Campaign, Safety Council and the Gellatly Nut Farm. He was previously honored by receiving the Queens’ Jubilee Medal, Honorary Fellow of Central Okanagan College, Fred Macklin Memorial Award, and member of the Board of First United Church. He was also well known for his partnership in the Whillis Harding Insurance Agency with Jim Whillis. Ken passed away May 9, 2017.

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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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