One of the best parts of the Comox Valley Child Development Association’s annual telethon is the eight-hour live entertainment program.
There are many singers, songwriters and instrumentalists – some perform solo or as duos, trios, choirs, big bands and even dancers.
However, what really makes Telethon special is all the entertainment, special guests and MCs are all from the Comox Valley and surrounding areas. The Telethon Committee is proud of this fact.
“When people ask me what big names we’re bringing to our telethon, I have to stop them. “Bring in?” I call out. I’ll let you know we’re not ‘bringing’ anyone in,” says Pam Crowe, Chair of the Telethon Committee. “We never have to leave the Comox Valley with so much great talent here”
This year is no exception. Year after year the Telethon welcomes a renewed series of regular performances along with newcomers and rising stars who donate their time to join us on the Sid Williams Theater stage. All of this is to entertain and celebrate this amazing community and supporters of the Comox Valley Child Development Association (CVCDA).
For 2022, the Comox Valley Child Development Association is pleased to announce that Fred Penner will join the ranks of the 47th CVCDA Children’s Telethon Performer List. This two-time Juno winner, who recently relocated to the area, is an acclaimed family entertainer, singer/songwriter, composer, actor, writer, author, television host and keynote speaker. In a recent keynote speech at an early childhood education conference, Penner conveyed a simple but powerful message.
“Never underestimate your ability to transform a child’s life.”
The organizers of the telethon are delighted to have this support from a prominent artist with a heartfelt message that aligns with CVDA’s mission and vision.
“We are so thrilled that many of our kids can come out for free and see such a wonderful live artist among many. We know many parents will be just as excited, if not more so,” said Brooklyn Galloway, CVCDA communications director.
Along with Penner there will be a whole host of family-friendly entertainment. Helen Austin, Juno Award winner and singer-songwriter, has been participating as both MC and performer for a number of years. Kenny Shaw, BC Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award for four years in a row and now a BCCMA Hall of Famer, will once again double as performer and MC, bringing his humor and energetic antics to the stage. Other MCs we welcome back for their second year are Sue Wood and Brian Wise.
Other appearances include JunoAward winner and Courtenay Native Sue Medley; multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Anela Kahiamoe; Brodie Dawson, Singer of the Year at the Vancouver Island Music Awards; and BC Music Hall of Famer guitarist Doug Cox.
There will be over 30 performances in total, including the Georgia Straight Big Band, Just In Time Choir, musical duo Hey Honey, Peter Bourne, Tammy Fassaert and many more. The telethon is also home to the valley’s many dance studios, including VIREO School of Performing Arts, Studio G Dance Academy, Laurie Tinkler School of Dance, Triple Heat and JT Dance, which perform numerous numbers across a range of disciplines.
Each year, all of the talent is brought together by a group of volunteer committee members. Edwin Grieve, Brian ‘Fuzz’ Morissette and Shaw, these unsung heroes who have been with the telethon from the start, if not the very beginning, keep the show going because the show must go on. Not only have they been involved behind the scenes, wearing many hats through planning, promotion, fundraising and backstage operations, but they have all performed as musicians at some point over the years, either solo or with various bands.
Shaw recalls playing with the band Still Water on the very first telethon and has played either solo or with a band and even performed as a comedian for many of the years to date.
Originally, many of the acts were pre-taped, similar to when the event went completely virtual during the 2020 pandemic. “Back then we didn’t have a venue for our artists to play in, and the recording was done at the C-CTV studio (before SHAW TV),” Morissette said. “It was just a microphone hanging from the ceiling, with plastic on the walls and insulation underneath.”
The event has come a long way since then, with a spacious theater where the public can come down and see the show in person.
The 2022 CVCDA Children’s Telethon will be broadcast live from the Sid Williams Theater on Sunday, November 6 from 12pm to 8pm via its broadcast partner Shaw Spotlight. Spectators are welcome in the theater for free throughout the event. And of course, families still have the ability to watch in real-time from their televisions or streaming devices from the comfort of their own homes or wherever they are.
Visit CVCDA.CA for full details and a full entertainment schedule.