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Guelph concert planned to benefit Haiti
by Joanne Shuttleworth

Guelph's musical community is coming together to raise funds for Haiti earthquake relief.

A concert is being pulled together for Feb. 7, 7 p.m. at the River Run Centre. Tickets are $30 per person.

"I think it's a natural response," said Sam Turton, a local musician and one of the organizers. "People want to help as they can and generally, we feel kind of helpless. But to come together, to sing out together and to donate for something important - that's what community is about."

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti Jan. 12. Buildings crumbled, people were trapped, thousands were killed and millions left homeless.

Emergency relief has been slow to be distributed, but clearly, Haiti is in crisis and needs foreign aid.

"The destruction is shocking," Turton said. "I can only imagine what this will do to the people down there who have lost family members and everything they own."

Turton said he was thinking about organizing something when he got a call from Rev. Paul Clarkson at Three Willows United Church. The faith community wanted to take some action too. And so did Ajay Heble of the Guelph Jazz Festival.

"So we put our heads together and said, let's do it. And we contacted everyone. If they're not in the show it's because they're on tour," Turton said.

"Every now and then, we are confronted with a human crisis that touches our heart and challenges us to respond in deep and meaningful ways. As a community that has been noted for its ability to care for others we are challenging Guelph residents to come together to respond to the crisis in Haiti," Clarkson said.

"Guelph has earned a well-deserved reputation as a caring community, and we offer this fundraising effort in the spirit of care and compassion," Heble agreed.

The lineup reads like a who's who of Guelph's considerable music community - Kevin Breit & Friends; Scott Merritt; The Guelph Music Revue featuring Tannis Slimmon, Andrew Craig, Jude Vadala, Craig Norris, Jeff Bird, Nick Craine, Shane Philips and Sam Turton.

And there may be more. It's a growing list, Turton said.

Proceeds will go to the Canadian Red Cross earthquake relief efforts.