Big Band Bash back for an eighth year

Saturday’s concert will raise funds for hearing impaired

The Island Big Band will perform Saturday at the Our Lady of Fatima Portuguese Hall in Royal Oak

Jazz legend Roy Reynolds knew the importance of hearing protection – that’s why he visited schools in the Saanich area to educate music students about preventing hearing loss.

Reynolds was a client of Island Deaf & Hard of Hearing Centre until his death in 2010, but before then, he started the centre’s Big Band Bash, an annual concert featuring jazz ensembles to raise money for the non-profit charitable organization.

Now the fundraiser is headed into its eighth year, with the Island Big Band, the Swiftsure Big Band and the Commodores Big Band all returning for the show on Saturday at the Our Lady of Fatima Portuguese Hall in Royal Oak.

“He was really thrilled with the work that Island Deaf & Hard of Hearing was doing, not only with him but other individuals, and so he decided to ask some of his buddies in bands to put on a night of music and help raise money,” said IDHHC executive director Denise Robertson.

“The bands continue to come out, they dedicate their time and they do it all for free in Roy’s legacy.”

Audiologist Donald MacAskill said the fundraiser helps keep numerous programs running at the centre, including the family and community program, the hearing health service program and the employment program.

“All of them are going to benefit from this,” he said. “People who maybe have hearing loss and are having difficulty finding a job or have certain requirements for a job, our employment counsellors will work with them.

“The family and community program will help with, say, somebody who is profoundly deaf and needs interpreting for medical appointments or something similar.”

The concert raises money through ticket sales and a silent auction. MacAskill said many of the auction items have been donated from clients of the IDHHC who have benefitted from appointments at the centre and want to give something back.

“I’m from the U.K. where people don’t have to pay for hearing aids, so it’s quite a difficult thing to know there are people who struggle with their hearing but don’t have the money to pay for hearing aids,” he said.

“There are directions that we can help point them in to make their lives a little bit easier.”

The concert takes place this Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Our Lady of Fatima Portuguese Hall, located at 4635 Elk Lake Dr., with the doors opening at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 each or $350 for a reserved table of 10.

To buy tickets or for more information, visit idhhc.ca/news-events/big-band-bash-2015.