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Sidney musicians sing a belated Christmas gift for health care

Locally recorded Christmas album raises more than $1,000 for health care foundation
Sunny Shams, owner of Alexander’s Cafe, hands Karen Morgan, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Healthcare Foundation, a stocking filled with more than $1,000 raised through the sale of a Christmas album featuring Shams, his musical partner Paul Bankes (not in picture) as well as his two sons, Morgan (far left) and Nelson (far right). Radio Sidney, represented by Bill Collins, second from right, provided the recording space. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

A local foundation received a belated Christmas present from local musicians.

Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Healthcare Foundation (SPHHF) received more than $1,000 from the sales of a Christmas album recorded at Radio Sidney and still available at Alexander’s Cafe.

The idea originated from local musicians Paul Bankes and Sunny Shams, who also owns the cafe. Public health measures concerning COVID-19 meant that the duo would not able to perform their seasonal songs. After discussions, the station made its studio available for a recording session that also featured Bankes’ sons Nelson and Morgan, who perform on their own as the Bankes Bros along with others.

RELATED: Hospital foundation president praises generosity of Peninsula residents

Pressed for time but conscious of the health restrictions, the musicians playing under the moniker Alexander’s Ragtag Band recorded 11 seasonal favourites, including White Christmas, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and Blue Christmas.

Bill Collins, Radio Sidney’s general manager, said the team identified SPHHF from the beginning, as “a very worthy recipient” of the proceeds. “Given the support that the hospital workers have provided to the community through the past 10 months we felt that it was only fitting that the community showed its gratitude,” he said.

Karen Morgan, executive director of the SPHHF, thanked the musicians. “It is a wonderful demonstration of the community spirit that surrounds us all year but is particularly evident during the Christmas Season,” she said.

Digital copies of the album are also available at until the end of January.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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