Multiple Grammy winner comes home in style

Victoria's David Foster unveils plans for star-studded benefit concert and fundraiser weekend

Singer/songwriter David Foster

Singer/songwriter David Foster

The carpets inside the Oak Bay Beach Hotel may not yet be in place, but its owners made sure that a red one was rolled out Friday.

Victoria’s own David Foster returned home – with some famous guests in tow – to help unveil plans for the hotel’s grand opening next year.

The weekend of festivities will be highlighted by a gala celebration at Save-On Foods Memorial Centre on May 26, featuring a “Miracle Concert” headlined by Foster himself, as well as an assortment of guest performers.

In addition, hotel owners Kevin and Shawna Walker announced that the new facility will include a dinner theatre showroom, to be named the David Foster Foundation Theatre. Over the next 10 years, a portion of the proceeds from shows held there will go to the foundation.

All the money raised at the grand opening event, which includes a black-tie dinner and auction on the night of the concert, will go to support Foster’s charitable foundation, which provides financial support for families with children seeking organ transplants.

The event is expected to raise $1 million.

Including the Walkers’ 10-year commitment, the donation will total $2 million, the single biggest contribution in the charity’s history.

“This is a significant moment in time for Shawna and myself and all of our family,” said Kevin Walker. “This remarkable three-day gala event will literally turn the hotel over to the foundation.”

Walker said guests who purchase grand opening weekend packages will be able to take advantage of all the hotel’s features, attend shows in the Foster theatre, and even be escorted to the big concert downtown by motorcade.

The multiple-Grammy winning Foster, who’s worked with such stars as Michael Bublé, Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand, is excited to return to his roots to celebrate his foundation’s 25th anniversary.

“Coming home to where we started it just feels so good,” he said. “This is my home, this is where I’m from, this is the place I’m most proud of. We’ll try to go easy on the Victoria people, but we hope to raise a lot of money.”

Foster was joined on Friday by the Canadian Tenors, who will also perform at the concert in May. The group has participated in several events in support of the foundation in the past.

“It’s quite something to meet the faces of the people who are actually affected (by the foundation’s work),” said group member Fraser Walters. “It also inspired us … to become organ donors ourselves.”

He joked, “Maybe one day we’ll be performing in that David Foster Foundation Theatre in exchange for some room nights.”

While the Tenors are the only special guests yet confirmed for the concert, Foster insisted it will not be one to miss.

“I will try to make this the greatest concert that I’ve ever put on.”

editor@oakbaynews.com

Hitman returns

• The hotel is selling its grand opening weekend packages on its website, www.oakbaybeachhotel.com.

• The cost is $5,000 per person for the three-day, two-night event.

• Tickets for the David Foster Hitman concert — which can be bought separately from the weekend packages — will go on sale to the public on Dec. 1.