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‘This is the definition of community’: Hundreds show for Old East Village benefit concert

Dozens line up for a benefit concert at the Aeolian Hall dedicated to victims of the Old East Village gas explosion. Andrew Graham/980 CFPL

There was no shortage of London love Tuesday night as the Aeolian Hall drew hundreds for a benefit concert aimed at supporting victims of a gas explosion in Old East Village.

The concert comes less than a week after a car slammed into 450 Woodman Avenue, causing a gas leak that led to a house-leveling explosion.

No deaths were reported, but the blast left a number of people injured and dozens of Old East Village homeowners displaced.

WATCH (Aug. 16, 2019): Residents return to aftermath of London explosion

Click to play video: 'Residents return to aftermath of London explosion' Residents return to aftermath of London explosion
Residents return to aftermath of London explosion – Aug 16, 2019

Memories are still fresh for Shawn Smith, an Old East Village resident who came out to Tuesday’s concert.

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“Me and a friend were sitting on a porch… and boom. It was shocking, it was quick, it felt like somebody drove into the porch,” Smith said, adding that a number of those affected by the explosion are people he holds dear.

“It was a good friend of mine, Karen Fisher, and her daughter that lived in the house that blew up.”

The charitable crowd at the Aeolian was treated to a night of music, food and auctions.

Serving up grub was Terry Lyons-Schram, the owner of My Big Fat Food Truck.

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The benefit concert was the latest in a string of fundraisers for those affected by the Aug. 14 explosion and Lyons-Schram says the show of support has made him proud to call London his home.

“I’m a transplanted Torontonian and I don’t know whether there’d be as much support there,” Lyons-Schram added.

Seats at the Aeolian Hall begin to fill ahead of a Tuesday night benefit concert for Old East Village. Andrew Graham / 980 CFPL

The empathetic effort was organized in part by Tara Dunphy, an award winning singer-songwriter from London who hoped to showcase the power of music.

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“Music is the great healer. That’s the way I’ve always looked at it,” Dunphy said. “I’ve used it so many times to help other people; this is just on a grander scale.”

READ MORE: Mayor Ed Holder highlights instances of Canada-wide support in wake of Old East Village explosion

The concert featured a diverse lineup of local acts such as Warrior Womyn of Positive Drum, Aaron Allen, Jim Sandy McDonald and Taylor Holden.

Dunphy added that an unforgettable amount of support was shown from those attending on Tuesday night.

“I think the thing that’s going to stand out in the future about this particular event is how quickly everybody came together,” Dunphy said.

The empathetic effort was organized in part by Tara Dunphy, an award winning singer-songwriter from London who hoped to showcase the power of music. Andrew Graham / 980 CFPL

All proceeds gathered from the benefit concert will go toward a fund set up by Libro Credit Union.

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There’s no word on how much money has been raised for victims of the Aug. 14 explosion, but a fundraising tally for the city is expected to be released later this week.

Donations for Libro’s fund can be dropped off at any of the bank’s branches in London.

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