The Rupert Society Refugee Support (RSRS) is now halfway to its goal of raising $50,000 to help Ukrainians resettle in Prince Rupert following a hugely successful benefit concert May 13.
More than 70 dancers, musicians, deejays and volunteers took to the stage at the Lester Centre of the Arts Friday attracting more than 450 spectators and raising $17,915.
“It was an amazing night,” said John Farrell, one of the RSRS organizers. “The people of Prince Rupert always come through when others are in crisis. This will allow us to resettle many more families from war-torn Ukraine.”
All funds are earmarked for flights and living allowances to help the refugees transition to life on the North Coast, Farrell said. He also noted above and beyond the money raised, many local residents are donating housing for six months rent-free.
Donations are also continuing to trickle in via e-transfers to the RSRS Facebook account and deposits directly to a savings account at Northern Savings Credit Union.
The almost $18,000 total came from a number of sources. Entry to the event was by donation at the door, which brought in $5,176.
A silent looney auction scored another $4,694 while a live auction of two big-ticket items generated $1,800.
Two Prince Rupert chefs, Phat Tran an Daisuke Fukasaku, also stepped up raising $3,500 from sales of 200 salad rolls prior to the concert.
The Lester Centre also donated the tips from the juice bar for an additional $82.
Finally, in a move that Farrell said “characterizes the generosity we saw that night,” 50/50 winner Sue Nielsen donated back half of her winnings. The 50/50 pot was $3,550. Nielsen won $1,775 and gave back $888 for a total of $2663 to the RSRS.
The evening, emceed by CBC Radio’s Carolina de Ryk, was broken up into three parts with two intermissions.
First up were the dancers including the Wii Gisigwilgwelk (Big Northern Lights) Dancers; Prince Rupert Dance Academy; Spectrum City Dance and the North Coast Indo-Canadian Dancers.
The Charles Hays Secondary School Jazz Band closed the opening part with a couple of classics, Moondance by Van Morrison and Charlie Parker’s Birdland.
Live music was the order for the second part of the show with Frances Riley opening performing some of her favourite cover songs solo.
Ray Leonard, Cynthia Pyde and Natalie Charlton followed doing a tribute to Moody Blues songwriter and front man Justin Hayward.
Then Ian Lihou, Nick Adey and Gord Olsen were joined on Lonni and Aja Lihou and some of Ian’s students before the Ringsystem Students finished out the set with some rocking classics.
Following the second intermission it was dancing time with the Valhalla Festival Roadshow featuring MC Graham McNish, DJ Keethoven and DJ Muldoe.
As a special treat, DJ Category 20 joined in on the fun live-streaming from western Ukraine.
The RSRS was originally founded to help resettle Syrian refugees.