Thanksgiving show funds youth programs

Rotary brings toe-tapping to Dave Dunnet for Thanksgiving

The Victoria Gospel Choir

Each year the Victoria Gospel Choir selects something in the community to support with its toe-tapping, clap-inspiring music.

“We can help kids, we can help seniors, we’ve done sold-out shows for literacy and Eldercare,” said Jack Petrie, choir member and publicist. For more than a decade they’ve waived fees for a feel-good performance to raise funds.

“We feel good doing it. We feel very fortunate that we’re involved in this kind of music where we have so much fun and fans are so enthusiastic,” Petrie said. “We make people so happy when we’re on stage and we have a blast, it’s a win win or a mutual admiration society. It just makes the whole thing feel right and we have a ball.”

This year’s Thanksgiving Giving Thanks concert at the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre funds youth programs through the Rotary Club of Oak Bay. Since its inception in 1974, Rotary Club of Oak Bay has funded projects across Greater Victoria and Oak Bay – from its first project to purchase four picnic tables for Uplands Park in 1975 to last year’s youth centre renovations at Oak Bay High. In the past five years members of the Rotary Club of Oak Bay have raised over $112,000 towards community and youth-related projects.

“We decided the choir would donate their normal fee to assist the Rotary Club of Oak Bay … knowing we would be raising money for youth programs in the community,” Petrie said. “Why not make a message of Thanksgiving Giving Thanks because of all the good things that are around us that we don’t stop to think about.”

The 60-member choir, under the direction of Checo Tohomaso, is famous for delivering a high-energy, positive vibe that always results in audiences joining in.

“He’s a motown veteran,” Petrie said of leader Tohomaso. “There are a couple of other surprises but the opening act is a Grade 12 student (Julia Zhu) who will be playing ragtime music.

“You’re going to hear songs from Marvin Gaye and Bob Marley and some of the gospel music that is a takeoff on a Motown vein, but with some classic upbeat Harlem-styled gospel.”

Thanksgiving Giving Thanks is Oct. 8 from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay High. Tickets are $25 at Ivy’s Books, Oak Bay Rec Centre and at the door if not sold out.