Phil Dwyer, left, and his son Ben will be performing at a concert at Knox United Church Dec. 2 to raise funds to settle a Syrian refugee family in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area. — File photo

Lessons from Africville for upcoming Qualicum refugee fundraiser

Concert in Parksville to feature Phil Dwyer in quartet with his son with Song of Hope

Sometimes, hopes come true.

A concert to raise funds to settle a Syrian refugee family in Qualicum Beach is coming up on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Knox United Church.

Named Song of Hope, the concert borrows its name from a song that Phil Dwyer, Juno-award-winning musician and member of the Order of Canada, performed along with other musicians for its original recording in 1997.

Dwyer, who will be headlining the concert as part of a quartet including Ken Lister, Hans Verhoeven and his son, Ben Dwyer, talked about the meaning of that song, and why he immediately thought of it upon agreeing to take part in the concert.

“It’s a bit of a bittersweet story, actually,” he said. Taken from Africville Suite, the Juno-award-winning album for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, the song is the last on the album which recalled the destroyed African-Canadian community of Africville near Halifax.

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, Halifax was founded in 1749, with roads and other parts of the city built by the labour of African slaves. The first official record of Africville was not long after, in 1761. Later, populated by a mix of freed slaves, Maroons of Jamaica and black refugees from the War of 1812, the community grew strong and proud, and was viewed by its residents as a safe haven away from the racism of Halifax.

However, the city taxed the residents without providing services, ran train tracks and placed undesirable industrial projects there, and eventually bulldozed the entire community in the 1960s, destroying homes at times without the consent or knowledge of the African-Canadian homeowners.

“In that respect, it created a community of refugees within Canada,” said Dwyer.

“There is a musician that I work with whose family had roots (in Africville),” Dwyer explained. “He (Joe Sealy) wrote a suite of music which we recorded called the Africville Suite, and the closing piece was Song of Hope, and it was the hope that through the lessons of the past, that we can work towards a better future.”

So, when asked to perform at the Qualicum Refugee Sponsorship Group 2017’s concert fundraiser, he said the idea to play the song “popped into my mind.”

It’s a song that Dwyer’s son, Ben (a bassist and saxophonist of growing esteem), grew up hearing and playing as well.

The concert will also feature Rosemary Lindsay and the VIU Jazz Choir, and Gabriola songstress Tina Jones. The song selection will include gospel-oriented Motown music, as well as pieces by Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, and Oscar Peterson’s Hymn to Freedom.

“It will be a very uplifting evening of music and community-building. That’s what we’re aiming for,” said Dwyer.

The event takes place Saturday, Dec. 2, at Knox United Church in Parksville, beginning at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at The Source in Qualicum Beach, Cranky Dog Music, Parks West or Little Qualicum Cheeseworks.

For more info, email chair@qualicumrsg.org.

Send news tips to:

adam.kveton@pqbnews.com

Just Posted

Part Three: 10 questions with a Qualicum Beach historian

Local guide shares stories of town’s foundations

Andrew Scheer makes campaign stop in Parksville

Federal Conservative leader talks tax cuts, environment

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the Courtenay-Alberni riding

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Alberni riding constituents, we have supplied… Continue reading

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

UVic students killed in Bamfield bus crash were from Winnipeg, Iowa City

Authorities said the two victims were a man and a woman, both aged 18

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

National weather forecasters predict average fall, cold winter

The Weather Network says precipitation will about average in most parts of Canada

Two dead, two in critical condition in highway crash near Campbell River

Highway 19 reopened Sunday night after it was closed in both directions

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Most Read