Closer to the Heart VIII

Posted on Aug 19, 2016 by Closer to the Heart

Hill Kourkoutis sings Mary Margaret O'Hara! (photo by Jaak Raun)
Hill Kourkoutis sings Mary Margaret O'Hara! (photo by Jaak Raun)

The 8th annual Closer to the Heart benefit concert to raise money for the Regent Park School of Music was a phenomenal show! The absolutely stellar house band featured David Baxter on guitar (David Wilcox, Alanis Morissette), Gregor Beresford on drums (Broubon Tabernacle Choir, Tom Cochrane), Victor Bateman on bass (Murray McLauchlan, Sylvia Tyson), and Chris Pruden on keyboards (Falcon Punch, Illyin Pipes). Guest singers got up to sing 2 of their favourite Canadian cover songs and they blew the roof off the Hard Rock Cafe! They proved that Canada has some of the most amazing songwriters, and Toronto has some of this country's most fantastic singers! MuchMusic ex-VJ Diego Fuentes hosted the evening, and performed for the first time ever in public. He did a Skid Row song!

Sean Cullen rocks out to Pursuit of Happiness! (photo by Jaak Raun)
Sean Cullen rocks out to Pursuit of Happiness! (photo by Jaak Raun)

Here is the set list of amazing covers they performed:
Julian Taylor did "Wheat Kings" by Tragically Hip and "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" by Bruce Cockburn.
Kevin Kane did "One Great City" by The Weakerthans and "Red" by Treble Charger.
Hill Kourkoutis did "Keeping You in Mind" by Mary Margaret O'Hara and "Monster Hospital" by Metric.
Sean Cullen did "Hard to Laugh" by The Pursuit of Happiness and "My Music At Work" by Tragically Hip, with an incredibly touching homage to Gord Downie at the end of it.
Maranda Thomas did "Lost Boy" by Ruth B and "Everything I Do" by Bryan Adams.
Justin Nozuka did "Unkown Legend" by Neil Young and "The Shape I'm In" by The Band.
Stephen Stanley did the theme song from the 1972 Cinesphere movie North of Superiorcalled "Ojibway Country" by Bill Houston and "Gimme Sympathy" by Metric.
Tara Slone did "Underwhelmed" by Sloan and cranked up the heat with "Turn Me Loose" by Loverboy!
David Diamond and Mister Zero from The Kings did "Oh, What a Feeling Crowbar" (the first CanCon song played on Canadian radio, according to Sean Cullen!) and then the night ended with a foot-stomping, hand-clapping rendition of "Keep on Rockin' In the Free World" by Neil Young, with all the singers coming back out to sing with David Diamond.

It was a spectacular night of music and comedy, with the banter between host Diego Fuentes and stand-up comedian Sean Cullen. Everyone's cheeks were sore by the end of the night from laughing so much!

Tara Slone gets help from Hill Kourkoutis to cover Sloan! (photo by Jaak Raun)
Tara Slone gets help from Hill Kourkoutis to cover Sloan! (photo by Jaak Raun)

There was even a Lord in the audience! 95-year-old Sir Sebastian from St. Kits flew in to see his great-grand-daughter Maranda Thomas do beautiful justice to her two songs. That girl is going places! You can watch her on the Family Channel's "Lost and Found Music Studios" TV show, now in its 2nd season.

What an amazing show! Join the Facebook group for Closer to the Heart VIII to find out when next year's show takes place, and look up this year's videos on YouTube to see what you missed!

Maranda Thomas interprets Bryan Adams beautifully! (photo by Jaak Raun)
Maranda Thomas interprets Bryan Adams beautifully! (photo by Jaak Raun)
Finale with Dave Diamond of The Kings doing Neil Young!  (photo by Jaak Raun)
Finale with Dave Diamond of The Kings doing Neil Young! (photo by Jaak Raun)

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