Commentary: Island filled with good vibrations as donations roll in for Rock for Relief

Commentary: Island filled with good vibrations as donations roll in for Rock for Relief
WatchWatch the Rock for Relief concert again!

Dave Obee is the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Times Colonist

The televised concert lasted less than 90 minutes, but it brought in about $540,000 to help those who have been seriously hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday’s Rock for Relief special on CHEK TV was an overwhelming success, showing once again that good things can happen when our community comes together.

Our community includes all of the performers who donated their time, everyone at the television station who made it happen, and the 5,000 people who donated money to the cause. Those donors were not just from the Island, but they opened their wallets and their hearts to bring a lasting benefit to those in need here.

“I don’t have the words … all I can say is I am so proud to live on this great Island with so many great people,” Levi Sampson, the chair of CHEK Media Group, said on Saturday.

“I spent hours after the concert aired receiving phone calls, texts and emails from people who loved the show.

“People wanted to talk about how together it made the Island feel, their favourite performers, that it gave them hope, or just to thank CHEK for putting this on in a time of need.

“And the positive messages have continued to roll in all day. Thank you, everyone, for making this a success,” Sampson said.

The money was raised for two funds: the Rapid Relief Fund, for Greater Victoria and the Cowichan Valley, and for the Community Response Fund (also called the Island Response Fund), which assists communities north of the Cowichan Valley.

The Rapid Relief Fund, which was created by the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl Foundation and the Times Colonist, was given a healthy boost when a group of local individuals and couples offered $100,000 in matching funds. That offer was met in just 40 minutes, and the money continued to roll in.

The entertainment was provided by a wide range of artists, including Tal and Randy Bachman, the Tenors, David Foster, Michael Kaeshammer, Carmanah and Jesse Roper. The artists were recorded in a hundred locations — physical distancing, and all — which allowed us to sneak peek into their homes, and marvel at the technical brilliance of the performance by Choirs YYJ, led by Marc Jenkins.

While a side benefit of the special might have been discovering more of the amazing talent on this Island, all of the artists knew what the concert was all about: To raise money for those in need.

And what did the viewers think? Based on the comments they gave with their donations, they loved it.

Here is a sample:

“So proud to be a part of our amazing community. Lauren Spencer Smith was stunning — thank you Lauren for sharing your beautiful talent during this time. You are a Canadian gift to the world.”

“Thank you for the living room concert. Proud to be an Islander!”

“Great performances in Rock for Relief, to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Thank you to CHEK-TV for organizing this concert campaign. Thank you also to all the great folks who are helping to keep us safe for We Are All In This Together.”

“Thanks CHEK and the Victoria Foundation for showcasing amazing island talent and support frontline workers.”

“A great show. I’m learning about so much local talent! Thank you! Stay safe!”

“Thanks to all the amazing musicians donating their time for this amazing effort!”

“Amazing job! So worth every second!”

“Incredibly moved by Bridge Over Troubled Waters. That’s us on the Island on the other side of waters calm or troubled, coming together to help our community. Thank you The Tenors for a great choice.”

“Bachmans and the Tenors still have it!”

“Ed and Jeff need more cowbell.”

“Thanks for the boogie woogie! Stay safe!”

“Fantastic show … We are so fortunate to live on a beautiful island with so many friends who care for one another.”

“Better together Vancouver Island! No better way to show we care than through music and the arts — they help us all to stay well and connected!”

“Keep rockin’ Vancouver Island!”

“Being a singer/songwriter, this event is so inspiring and uplifting!”

“Amazing night and amazing cause. Stay safe Vancouver Island. We’re a special community.”

“Let’s do this twice a year in the future to raise funds for people who need help.”

“Thank you for the great concert. It makes me proud to live here.”

“If we keep doing what we’re doing we will get through this! Great work Vancouver Island!”

“Proud of our local TV station owners.”

“So grateful to everyone who put together the Rock for Relief living-room concert on CHEK and all those at the Times Colonist who have worked so hard to help people in our community.”

“This Island rocks! We are here for each other … two metres apart!”

“Nobody comes together like Vancouver Island.”

Friday’s donations came from throughout the Island and on the Lower Mainland, as well as from Prince George, Armstrong, Fort Simpson in the Northwest Territories, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador.

If you can help those who have been hit hard by the pandemic, please do so. Their need is real, and it is urgent, and the fund is designed to bring immediate relief.

[email protected]


How To Donate

Donors can direct their funds to either the Rapid Relief Fund, supporting Greater Victoria and the Cowichan Valley (, or the Island Response Fund, supporting communities north of the Cowichan Valley (

Tax receipts will be issued. If you are open to receiving your tax receipt by PDF, please include an email address with your donation.

Rewatch Rock for Relief below or above

To learn more about how to contribute to our Voices section, click here.

Dave ObeeDave Obee

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