The spirit of community and sharing artistry which is at the heart of the PAL Ottawa mission was in full force at our fundraiser which took place at the uOttawa LabO at Arts Court on Friday, September 27! The black box was transformed into a delightful cabaret setting thanks to organizer Victoria Steele and her committee.
With CBC News Anchor, the warm and witty Lucy Van Oldenbarneveld acting as emcee, the audience at Don’t Quit Your Day Job were treated to a wide range of talent offerings. And while all of the entertainers competing for top honours that night operate in the public eye, most are not normally found on the performing arts stage. The jury was chaired by the always quick-witted Eric Coates (GCTC Artistic Director), in fine form that evening, with insightful commentary contributed by CBC Ottawa Morning traffic reporter Doug Hempstead and theatre artist, dancer and storyteller Jaqui Du Toit.
The entertainment began with the opening ‘tough act to follow’ of songstress Nicole Milne (Executive Director of the Ottawa Arts Council in her day job) spectacularly belting out a Broadway ballad and an ABBA cover tune with collaborative pianist Scott Richardson, and ended with some rollicking rock and roll standards performed by the Dead Flowers. The tight six-man band got the crowd going with a couple of well-executed cover tunes and stayed after the official competition was over to keep everyone dancing into the evening.
In between, we experienced the exciting juxtaposition of stand-up comedy and Shakespearean soliloquy by the multi-talented Pierre Brault; some mandolin-banjo stylings by city councillor folk duo Jeff Lieper and Catherine McKenney in their debut performance; and the inimitable blues singer extraordinaire Maria Hawkins leading the crowd in a rousing and timely rendition of the spiritual Wade in the Water complete with her own spin on the lyrics. To round out the evening, the profound photographic and poetic musings of heritage architect Barry Padolsky on topics of architecture and life’s journey appeared on screen with his insightful narration.
Over $12,000 was raised toward our mandate thanks to a sold-out event and generous bids on some terrific items up for silent auction. Thanks go to our presenter, the Ottawa Wealth Advisory Group, and our sponsors: Clocktower Brew Pub, uOttawa LabO and FoodWorks Catering (Operation Come Home).