Hodgepodge: Tributes for Teens

Hodgepodge: Tributes for Teens

By Charlie Hodge.

Hmmm, why does this feel like déjà-vu all over again?

Because it should, I suppose.

On Saturday, October 25 I will trundle out to centre stage at Kelowna Community Theatre to play master of ceremonies for a youth awareness and fundraiser event. It’s a role I’ve had the honour of holding numerous times in the past; at least 10 which I can confirm.

This time it will be under the organizational skills and plan of singer/songwriter/politician/all-round good guy Ryan Donn.

While I am not sure how he possibly finds the time, Ryan has spent numerous hours of late organizing the event designed to assist the Bridge Youth and Family Services program in creating a Youth Recovery House in Kelowna.

Ryan’s hard work will culminate in a wonderful night of entertainment at KCT tagged Tributes for Teens and will see an evening of live music honouring tunes by Abba (by the band Arrival) and Fleetwood Mac by the band Dreams). How can you go wrong with that?

I am equally thrilled to share my MC work that night with fellow Councillor Loyal Wooldridge. Loyal is an amazing, articulate and witty man and I look forward to hamming it up on stage with him. Should be great fun.

Highlight of the night for me will be to hear Ryan in a duet with Leah West that will include a cover version of one of my favourite songs Say Something.

Both Ryan and Leah are gifted singers and worth the attendance on their own.

Aside from our connections as Kelowna City Councillors Donn and I share a long history in both music and working with youth – particularly youth at risk or with significant needs. (Over the years, ironically, we both spent time living with the same foster child. A reminder of what a small world we actually do live in).

In fact ironically again, Donn has actually worked a fund raiser awareness show before for the Bridge. Ryan was one of the musical stars of the third annual Night of the Arts concerts – a 10-year long run of fundraisers and awareness events organized by Curtis Tulman (Cruzeros fame) and I. For the first five years the Night of the Arts raised youth awareness issues and support for the Bridge, known then as Okanagan Families.

The very first Night of the Arts (2005) was crafted to help support the struggling Iridian House project – a youth shelter on Cadder Avenue. Sadly the province eventually dropped its funding and the facility closed.

Donn played at the third concert sharing the spotlight with the likes of Greg Sczebel, The Cruzeros, Deb Stone, Ten2Nine, Zamboni Brothers and numerous others.

I was thrilled to have Ryan perform and it kicked off a friendship we share today. I recently found this old column singing his praises and can’t resist printing just a tad of it here.

“The latest big score to announce his participation is singer/songwriter extraordinaire Ryan Donn. Donn has been a personal favourite of mine since I reviewed his first CD a few years back. A unique vocal style, Ryan writes about life with a wisdom, wit and passion – the same way he lives his personal life. A great amount of his writing focuses on youth and the value of children and families in our world.”

When  I asked Ryan last week why he was rekindling the fight for the Bridge he explained,” It was disheartening to read about the teen who overdosed last summer while on the wait list for treatment. The Bridge could have a treatment program up and ready within two months if the province funded it,”

That was all I needed to hear to get me back in the game.

See you all there, I hope.

Tickets are on sale now online www.kelownatickets.com or by calling #250-862-2867

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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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