#SingItFwdFinale @ VOGUE THEATRE – January 15, 2016

For the fifth and final year, the Vogue Theatre hosted #SingItFwd on January 14th and 15th. The brainchild of David and Ambrosia Vertesi, #SingItFwd has raised funds for the Saint James Music Academy, an organization that provides music programs and after school care to over 200 students living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This year, the #SingItFwdFinale was held over two nights, with two different line-ups.

On the night of January 15th, there was excitement in the air but also a hint of sadness, knowing that this was the final show for #SingItFwd. Following the opening performance by the SJMA orchestra, East Vancouver’s The Pack A.D. started off the night with a set that included strong drumming and guitar riffs. Chin Injeti, who has worked with the likes of DJ Khalil, 50 Cent, and Eminem over the years, had the audience grooving to his music with his reggae beats and sing-a-long. Jaycelyn Brown, Tyler Bancroft, and Ben Worchester of Said the Whale performed a stripped-down set that included an emotional performance of “Helpless Son”, a song that explores aging and relationships with family. While this may have left some audience members feeling a bit sad, performances by Top Less Gay Love Tekno Party brought the energy right back up to high. The group, wearing matching bomber jackets and black pants, had the SJMA on stage to help perform their hit song “Danger Love”.

Following the intermission, Calgary’s Jocelyn Alice, joined by former bandmate Lisa Jacobs on the bass and keyboards, performed a set that had a clear sound and a strong voice. It was only her second time performing in Vancouver, but she seemed right at home, interacting with the crowd and displaying a huge smile. Her songs, including the hit “Jackpot,” left the crowd wanting more. Electropop band Humans performed David Bowie’s “Modern Love” alongside the SJMA, which had not just the crowd jumping around but all of the performers as well. Vancouver’s Mother Mother performed their songs “Simply Simple”, “Bit By Bit”, and “I Go Hungry.” Lead singer Ryan Guldemond eloquently echoed sentiments felt by many in the crowd, which was the importance of youth to our society. Rounding out the night was Hey Ocean!, which played their hit song “I Am a Heart”, as well as a rocking cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” (featuring Jocelyn Alice) and Arcade Fire’s “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” alongside the students of the SJMA. All of the performers came together one final time to sing The New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give” and officially ended the five-year-long legacy of #SingItFwd.

Though the curtain has closed on #SingItFwd, the SJMA still continues to fund programs and change the lives of its participants. Please visit http://sjma.ca to learn more about how the Saint James Music Academy is helping youth on the Downtown Eastside and how you can assist this fantastic cause.

Photos by Laura Wong.