Michael Averill is set to perform at the Honda Celebration Of Light this week. The Music Business alumnus earned the stage after raising almost $8000 for music therapy through the Covers For The Cause campaign. Michael’s efforts will go to St. James Music Academy, which works on Vancouver’s downtown east side. It’s an organization he’s worked with for a couple of years.
The performance spot bonus is massive! I’m thrilled to be able to not only promote the great work that SJMA and Music Heals are doing, but to also bring some musical friends on stage with me to share in the opportunity. There will be some big surprises, so watch michaelaverill.com to find out who will be joining me for the show! It all happens at 4 PM on August 2nd at the Second Beach Stage.
- Michael Averill
We asked Michael about the contest and this week’s excitement. Read his insights below and then come check out the show! You can also donate here to help out local music therapy programs.
Tell us about Music Heals and the contest you won. What is it and why’d you do it?
I recently entered into the Music Heals‘ Covers for the Cause campaign to help raise funds and awareness for music therapy. The campaign offers donors the chance to request their favourite songs to be covered by a local artists in exchange for a financial contribution to music therapy. The artist then re-interprets the song, makes a video, and dedicates it to the donor.
Here’s one of the covers Michael has produced for donors:
I took this on for a number of reasons. I have worked with the St. James Music Academy in the downtown east side for two years now, and have seen the great work that music therapists do there. I saw this campaign as an opportunity to help support the positive impact that SJMA is having in kids lives in that community. I also entered as a personal challenge to strengthen my cello abilities. It’s a new instrument for me, and wanted to be pushed outside of my comfort zone. Kelowna’s Nils Loewen has been a big influence on me that way.
I ended up raising close to $8000, and won the opportunity to perform at Celebration of Light Festival.
So what’s the impact?
The amount of money raised translates to roughly 140 sessions of music therapy for kids at SJMA, and I am thrilled about this. The whole campaign shines light on how powerful music therapy really is, and gives donors a chance to have fun and take part in an artistic activity while contributing to the well being of others in the local community.
I linked with a number of supportive businesses as well (ex. Corduroy Lounge, Brix, Chewies) and will be collaborating and involving staff in the videos. It gives businesses a chance to be creative with their staff and offers a fun way of engaging with their customers on a social media level.
How did the Music Business program prepare you for this?
The program was excellent for instilling habits around setting timelines, making sturdy plans, collaborating with others, and being held accountable in a supportive and inspiring community of like minded people in the industry. It was the most practical and useful post secondary education I have ever taken, and I loved that the course revolved around the theme that working together is the strongest way to go forward for all – much like this song off of my latest record.
I’m currently in Haida Gwaii working with the On Root project, a special cultural/artistic collaboration about the
role and responsibility regarding proper stewardship of the land. Later this summer I’ll be headed out to the east and central regions of Canada to tour my new album, “All We Ever Need,” a collection of songs written from walking over 2400 miles of Canada over 4 years.
I’m also exploring musical collaborations with Ireland’s fantastic Uilleann piper, Chris McMullan, with Vancouver
Island award winning songstress, PK Tessmann, and a few others I am not permitted to publicly announce yet.
(NB: Michael isn’t the first Music Business grad we’ve featured. Read about how another’s connection to Liam Neeson here, and stay tuned to BCIT News as more success stories from this program are on the way.)