Commentary: Rock for Relief – A whole bunch of talent put this amazing show together

Commentary: Rock for Relief – A whole bunch of talent put this amazing show together

Ian Haysom’s coronavirus diary will appear here regularly.

Someone said we should try David Foster.

And Randy Bachman, someone added, saying he knew how to reach him.

Someone else said, how about Choirs YYJ, they’re really cool. Someone else knew the guys from the band Current Swell. I said, how about I call Lauren Spencer-Smith, the young woman from Nanaimo who’s wowing them on American Idol.

Hey, how about The Tenors, someone added.

And we came up with some more names and after we put together the bare bones of a list we all went out and hit the phones and emails, and a couple of days later and just about everyone said yes, so someone said, “You know. I think we can do this. I think we have a show.”

And we do. An amazing show. Musical talent from across Vancouver Island will join forces this Friday at 8 p.m. PT to help raise funds for Vancouver Islanders who are in urgent need during the COVID-19 pandemic.The idea started in an informal discussion in late March. A small group of us at CHEK – from the newsroom, production and creative services – started to map out the germ (sorry) of an idea.

We batted around some titles, but Rock For Relief stuck, since the Rapid Relief Fund, of which CHEK is a part, was to be the beneficiary. Then Rob Germain, our general manager, said he’d like to make this island-wide, and it has now broadened.

Donors this Friday will able to direct their funds to either the Rapid Relief Fund, supporting Greater Victoria and the Cowichan Valley (, or the Community Response Fund, supporting communities north of the Cowichan Valley ( Be generous if you can. If you’re not able to donate, that’s cool too. Just enjoy the show.

The subtitle of the benefit is “a living room concert for Vancouver Island,” and it will be quite the show. And quite the lineup. among the acts who will perform are Foster, Randy and Tal Bachman, the Tenors, Trevor Guthrie, Jesse Roper, Carmanah, Aaron Pritchett, Kathryn Calder, Dustin Bentall and many others.

The performance by Choirs YYJ is a showstopper. They sing With A Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles, all from their own homes. Our producer Rich Leboudec had to bring about 80 video sources into the station and pull them together. They tried not to sing out of key, as the song goes, and it works magnificently.

The choir is huge, and nothing to do with Victoria YYJ Airport, but a group of community choirs of more than 80 people of all ages singing songs they can relate to. Fantastic.

Lauren’s song is a small gem. A star is born and we’re lucky to be with her as she gets ready to spread her wings and win over the world.

Randy Bachman’s classic Taking Care of Business is retooled into Taking Care of People.

Dustin Bentall, whose dad Barney is already a musical institution, has written an original song called Rebel and it’s a beauty. Like all the other performers, he plays acoustically and into a phone camera.

And the other performances you will see are uniformly strong.

The musical talent on Vancouver Island is truly astounding, but one of the challenges for the show’s producer Michael Woloshen and Jim Sprague, who edited the show, was the many different video sources they had to bring into the CHEK studios.

“It really is a technological marvel,” said Mike. “And considering the technical challenges, it looks pretty darned great.”

Kudos to everyone at CHEK for working so tirlelessly and professionally on this, and on taking its community responsibility so seriously. CHEK has walked tall during this crisis and showed how key the station is to the fabric of this community. Not only has the station survived as an independent for more than 10 years now, but thrived and prospered and staked its claim as a vital source of island news, information and entertainment.

We have only been able to include a limited number of island performers in this show, or it would go all night (in fact it will run for just over an hour) and many singers have now contacted us to ask if they can help. So, you never know, there could be a Rock For Relief 2. There were a few luminaries we failed to connect with this time around, and many other great acts we’d like to showcase.

It’s great that a number of other community leaders, like Steve Nash, Silken Laumann, Rick Hansen and Premier John Horgan will be giving messages between the songs. It’s hosted by Stacy Ross and Joe Perkins. Ed Bain and Jeff King will be the comic relief, as they have been every night on CHEK’s newscasts.

Rock for Relief: A Living Room Concert for Vancouver Island will be broadcasted and streamed without commercial interruption at 8 p.m. PT April 17 on CHEK (Shaw ch. 6, Bluesky ch. 109/ Telus Optik ch. 121) as well as the CHEK Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Join musical talent from across Vancouver Island on Friday to help raise funds for Islanders who are most in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. More info here:

Posted by CHEK News on Tuesday, April 14, 2020

And you can read the previous coronavirus below:

Commentary: Not all heroes wear capes

Ian HaysomIan Haysom

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!