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Local Concert Series Hits Milestone

Lions Bay House Concerts hosts 125 events in nine years


When Tamara Leger and her family began to organize the first house concert in Lions Bay, she says they did it because music builds community.


"The high-end live music experience is something I cannot live without," says Leger. "I travel for it. And I travel to recruit bands from all over the world to come perform in Lions Bay, because music is medicine. Gathering together is community building. Also, Lions Bay is spectacular and we want to hear world class, award-winning music where we live."


Leger, her husband Mike and sons Taylor and Winston have been volunteering their time to put on musical events in the village since 2015. Lions Bay House Concerts started in people's homes, but since the pandemic have almost exclusively been held in the Village Hall.


This weekend's upcoming concert featuring Avataar marks the 125th event in 36 different venues since the series began. (For a look at past concerts, check out the series on YouTube HERE).


Leger and her family donate their time to set up and run the events, and she's worked with a number of other volunteers and sponsoring partners over the years, including local ReMax Masters realtor Thyra McKilligan, Doreen Gregson with The Cooperators, Luci Traini, and Andrew Wray.


"We've (also) partnered with the Events Committee, the Arts Council, and the Village itself, as well as offered free songwriting workshops to two local school districts," she adds.


Sponsorships help cover performance and production fees, including rental of gear, event insurance, advertising and even wine glasses and table cloths. Leger counts on ticket prices to cover the rest.


Nevertheless, she always finds space to include 'Community Cares', a program designed to ensure no one who might benefit from attending an event is ever turned away.


She says she created the program to eliminate barriers. "If you want to come hear a concert but are short of means to buy a ticket, reach out confidentially and I'll ticket you. And if you know of someone who is struggling and needs a night out, we will also provide a companion ticket so they can bring someone along too."


Leger says she has provided complimentary tickets over the years for bereaved spouses or people experiencing personal struggles, noting that more than 2,000 seats have been given away as a part of the program.

 

"These tickets are meant to help lift people up. The expectation is that they 'come as they are', in their PJs, wearing sunglasses, whatever, and leave whenever they need to. It is the role of the companion to check in with them and make sure they are OK at all times. I also make the artists aware so that they can adjust set lists or banter to accommodate."


To qualify for this program, residents can reach out to Leger directly on behalf of themselves or someone who is in need.


"This program was really why this series was established. It is also what makes it so personal and community-oriented."


The pandemic meant things shut down for a while, but when a careful return was possible, concerts began again, and so did the 'Community Cares' program. Leger notes that shortly after the pandemic, a person with pancreatic cancer was able to enjoy their final concert because health protocols were still in place.


With a such a small population base in the village, Leger says the local response ebbs and flows, depending on the artist. "I can say that it's never the same crowd twice. We are also hugely popular with folks from away. We have had folks fly in for certain concerts from Calgary and Ontario, drive up from Bellingham or rent a school bus to come from North Vancouver as a large group."


She says people have even made surprise reconnections with old school mates or distant relatives that they've lost touch with at various events.


Leger is eager to extend an invitation to those who haven't attended before. "First and foremost, people should come for the music," she says, noting that the unique setting in Lions Bay seems to draw the best from the performers.


"You should also come to meet new people. There are often newcomers in the room and it's always an interesting time. You can come as a group of friends, but don't be scared to come alone. You'll make new friends and feel at home quickly. Everyone is welcome, so please share the invitation with your neighbours and friends."


The events offer complimentary sparkling water and contributions to the potluck tasting table are gladly received. Events are all pre-ticketed, non-alcoholic and aimed at age 19+ with general admission seating and no door sales. Leger says sponsorships and donations of any sort are appreciated, and volunteers are always welcome.


She's also looking for visual artists who would like to exhibit their work as part of the events.


You can find out more about the series HERE, and buy tickets HERE for next Saturday's Avataar event. To ask about 'Community Cares' tickets or to volunteer or offer your art work for display, email tamara@tamaraleger.com

 

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1 коментар


Tamara L
Tamara L
18 черв.

Thanks Karen for talking about our Community Cares program! Please reach out if you, or someone you know, could use a complimentary night out. Hope to see you at the show!

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