A musical night of thanks and celebration at the Aeolian Hall
- Written by Kaleigh Boyd
It was truly a celebration of the music community in the Old East Village when the Aeolian Hall hosted its benefit concert and silent auction Thursday night. From eclectic singer-songwriters, to pianists to world music, the event featured a number of diverse local performers, aimed at showcasing the wide range of music the Hall seeks to support and promote. Meanwhile in the silent auction, attendees generously vied for items donated by local businesses and members of the community, including gift certificates, works of art, CD’s and most notably music lessons given by members of the Aeolian community.
Celtic harpist Jennifer White, a story teller as much as a musician, opened the show with a tranquil and rather magical performance, accompanied by percussionist Robert McMaster, whom she aptly names a ‘collector of sounds’.
Jazz singer Gina Farrugia passionately supported the fundraising spirit of the night during her set by prompting a spontaneous live auction of local goods.
New to the Aeolian, acoustic singer-songwriter Julia Cromarty was invited to play after she was heard busking down on Dundas Street and her strong voice and insightful lyrics made quite an impression.
Long supporter and folk-singer Allison Brown spoke of her rewarding experiences as a performer at the Aeolian and strongly encouraged everyone to introduce the Hall to anyone yet to experience it.
Yuri Pool of The McCartney Years expressed his gratitude to the Aeolian and its staff and, after making a donation of his own, closed the show with a rousing rendition of Hey Jude that had the audience joining in.
Musical acts were interspersed with raffle draws, humorous and heartfelt anecdotes and an unending amount of gratitude towards not just the audience but the long list of staff, volunteers, board members and those in the local community who have helped support the Aeolian Hall over the years.
Though the venue has been named one of the top ten in Canada for live performances, Executive Director and the night’s master of ceremonies Clark Bryan spoke of the struggle they continue to fight with the neighbourhood’s reputation in London. Over the last several years they have worked tirelessly to promote the Aeolian, bringing in audiences from across the city, performers from all over the world and by creating a free educational program named El Sistema Aeolian that brings music into the lives of underprivileged children in the community.
Through the night staff and performers alike spoke with pride of the Aeolian its achievements over the years. They have fostered an open and welcoming environment for musicians and music-lovers alike and are grateful for the community’s continued support. The show was undoubtedly a success and all proceeds from the night will be put towards maintaining the Aeolian Hall’s daily operations, programs and live musical performances.
Kaleigh Boyd is a freelance writer from London with a love of music and a BA in literature and creative writing. She is an avid bookworm and a writer of fiction and poetry.