May 14, 2018 2:36 pm

Full house for Downie Wenjack Benefit Concert in Peterborough

Watch: A Benefit Concert for the Downie Wenjack Fund takes place at Market Hall.


Every seat in Peterborough’s Market Hall sold out before doors opened Friday night for the Downie Wenjack Fund Benefit Concert.

“It’s over 300 people, it’s absolutely amazing,” said Curve Lake First Nation author, playwright and evening MC Drew Hayden Taylor.

The show featured indigenous and non-indigenous performers.

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READ MORE: The sister of Chanie (Charlie) Wenjack works on education resource program connected to Gord Downie’s “The Secret Path”

Beany John Hoop Dance, spoken word poet Kaera Lightening and the Wshkiigomaang Curve Lake Women’s Hand Drum Group were joined by the Sadies, the Mayhemingways and the Thomas A. Stewart Jazz Band Friday night.

Shirley Williams, a residential school survivor, was delivering the opening prayer before the show got underway.

She said she empathized with Chanie Wenjack, the 12-year-old boy who died in 1966. Chanie was trying to find his way home after fleeing his residential school. The late Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie told his story through his work, The Secret Path.

READ MORE: Gord Downie gets confrontational with ‘Secret Path’ in what could be his last concert

“As sad and as hard as it will be, the truth has to be told, so that people can witness how we were treated,” Williams said.

Event co-organizer Melodie McCollough said she began planning the show shortly after Downie’s death in October.

“We just wanted to make a statement, make a difference,” she said.

Organizers were hoping to raise $10,000.

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