Artists come together to reflect on a legend
// Victoria Fawkes

July 23, 2011 was a dark day for the music industry. On that day, the world lost the creative influence of R&B, soul, and jazz performer Amy Winehouse forever. Amy’s global impact on the world of music, fashion, and culture is still relevant to this day, and she is best known for bringing a modernized form of jazz music to a generation who would have otherwise never been exposed to it.

Amy’s memory, influence, and creative spirit live on in every fan’s mind, but for those who’d like to enjoy a more physical manifestation, you can always take in An Evening For Amy, a benefit concert happening in Vancouver.

For this event, Avalon Recovery Society and the Capilano University Jazz Studies Program have teamed up to remember Amy Winehouse and raise money for those struggling with addiction, with proceeds from the concert benefiting the organizing groups, as well as the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

Out of Amy Winehouse’s tragic death, there has been some good. Benefit concerts celebrating the life and music of Amy Winehouse have been held around the world since her untimely passing at age 27. Following Amy’s death, her family created the Amy Winehouse Foundation, a charitable organization which offers aid young people in need of support as a result of health problems, disability, financial issues, or addiction. The Winehouses have also been active in encouraging other fans and supporters to organize fundraising events in her memory.
An Evening For Amy has had incredible support from the community. Part of the event includes live and silent auctions, for which the organizers have received donations of, among other goods and services, a spa experience and a trip to Mexico. They will also be auctioning original art from artists who have donated their pieces.

In addition, all of the vocalists, the stage manager, graphic designers, and makeup artists have generously donated their time, so that almost 100 per cent of the ticket and auction revenue will go towards the three organizations involved: the Avalon Recovery Society, the Amy Winehouse Foundation, and a new bursary for the Capilano University Jazz Studies Program.

Avalon Recovery Society operates the Avalon Women’s Centres in West Vancouver and Kerrisdale, which provide safe environments for women in recovery from addiction. Avalon Recovery Society provides opportunities for women to attend 12-step meetings, gain access to counselors, and more. The Capilano University Jazz Studies Program will be the recipient of a bursary established in honour of Amy Winehouse for music students whose lives have been impacted by addiction.

Catherine Bowers, an organizer of the event, has a personal connection to the show and its beneficiaries: “Avalon is where I myself found sobriety, and rediscovering music is what motivates me to use music as part of my sobriety,” says Bowers.

The importance of the concert goes beyond benefiting the charities: it is also a significant event for the performers: “At least five of the performers are in recovery, three of them openly in recovery. The reason they are participating is part of [their] recovery, which is reaching out to other people and sharing [their] experience with others,” says Bowers.

An Evening For Amy will feature passionate local musicians, from well-known professionals, to promising musical students, who will perform a variety of original songs and jazz standards that were performed by Amy Winehouse during her short life. Urban R&B, jazz, gospel, and soul will all be featured by the artists, who will put their own unique spin on the music that Amy Winehouse was so passionate about.

Fans of Amy know that her music, always filled with passion and emotion, had a therapeutic quality to it: “Singing always brings me joy, but when I have a chance to help a fellow or future student with my music, it is even more uplifting. I am thrilled to participate in An Evening For Amy and have the opportunity to help heal hearts and souls,” says Shanna Dance, a Capilano University student who is slated to perform at the event.

An Evening For Amy is on Feb. 26 at 7:30 pm at the NSCU Centre for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $25 and are available online at

//Victoria Fawkes, staff writer
//Graphics by Shannon Elliot

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