Thanks for all the lovely feedback on part one of my blog. Aside from some (to be anticipated) cynicism from our local maestros, I think everyone got my point. I started a music school to try and give everyone with a love/desire or passion for music the opportunity to pursue it and I wanted to give them opportunities that I didn’t have. Opportunities to learn outside of the box and develop, by playing along with others. Our charity gig supports both of these ideas and makes them a reality.
Bringing charity into the ‘gig’ aspect made sense for me and my former business partner, John, when we first birthed the idea five years ago. Initially our motivation was a staff member who’s beautiful daughter was born with spina bifida, undetected in any pregnancy scans. We approached him and he said he wanted to give the money to the ward in the royal Victoria hospital that saved his daughter’s life. With the money we bought portable dvd players for all the beds in the ward so that the kids of the ward, who often endured some lengthy stays in hospital, had something to help them pass the time.
Fast forward the clock four years. I’m sitting in the Allen Ward of the Royal Victoria Hospital with my baby girl and a nurse brings in a DVD player. My daughter Mary loved her wee dvd player at home and we quickly rigged it up. I suddenly realised where that DVD player had come from.
I filled with emotion and was bursting with pride all at the same time. Not because of something I’d done, because of something every single person had done by purchasing a ticket and attending the event that night.
Everyone knows the story of what eventually played out with my beautiful baby. Many of you have walked the journey with me, cried with me and supported me immeasurably. Last year’s charity gig was in her memory. It was the only focus I could use to effectively get through the night without a complete breakdown. This year she will be remembered too as we support two charities, one that gave her a life fit for a queen – The NI Children’s Hospice and one that would have given her every opportunity possible had she lived beyond 27 Feb 2016 – The RNIB.
Not many people know, Mary was registered blind. Seems crazy that she loved her DVD player and we often debated the subject with the doctors but her diagnosis was complete blindness. The Music Rooms have for the past six years worked very closely with the RNIB and seen first-hand the opportunities they give to children and adults with partial or complete sight loss. The NI Children’s Hospice is a ‘must’ for children and the families of children with life limiting illnesses. Mary spent her final days here and we spent many happy times here as a family throughout her short life as she was given respite. This year we are supporting both these wonderful charities through our ticket sales and raffle on the night.
Isn’t it amazing that the proceeds from the charity gig back in 2012 eventually came back full circle? I am not going to try and distance myself from this event being personal. It always has been for me. Yet this isn’t a plea or a cry out for sympathy. This is the reality of how supporting these events can actually make a difference. Your support last year made the lives of some extremely sick children a lot better. We have booked out the whole theatre this year. Help us fill it. In return we will give you a night to remember.
For tickets visit www.wegottickets.com/event/401548 or call the Braid on 02825635077.