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L.A. Beat

Huron Carole full of love, peace and lots of stories

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Actor, musician and philanthropist Tom Jackson has a way about him of making everyone in his vicinity feel like they are his best friend.
 He made a room full of new best friends at  the 2014 edition of the Huron Carole at a sold out  Yates Memorial Theatre, Dec. 2.

“I love you,”  Jackson greeted the room, backed by soft keyboard accompaniment, dressed in simple jeans, leather jacket and bright red scarf.
He chuckled as he observed a mewling baby in the crowd as  “this is the future.”Tom Jackson incorporating props into  the Huron Carole 2014. Photo by Richard Amery

 While he brought the Huron Carole  to Lethbridge just last year with much the same line up of One More Girl, Shannon Gaye, Beverly Mahood and newcomer Don Amero, this year’s show was markedly different.
He started the evening with a solo show, which was equal parts stand up comedy,  Christmas carols,  storytelling and motivational speech as he told the story of how he started the Huron Carole back in 1987 and in the process ended up raising over $200 million or food banks all over Canada.

He had an array of props which he used to illustrate bad puns and a video screen featuring footage of chilly winter scenes illustrating the grim undertones of some of the stories of his early life growing up on a reserve and on the streets of Winnipeg, being addicted to drugs and eventually getting addicted to helping people.Huron Carole 2014 welcomed back some familiar faes to Lethbridge. Photo by Richard Amery

 He told a humourous story about  visiting a friend of his brother  Bernie and noticing he didn't have a Christmas tree , which lead to  them stealing part of the trees and lights decorating  the “parliament” buildings, which lead to police tracking them down by following their footprints in the fresh fallen snow.

On the more serious  side, he told a story about being on the streets looking for his next fix and trying to find the next party then seeing a woman with a young baby and trying to give her his scarf.

“You all have the capacity to make the world a better place,” he advised the audience.

“ You are all philanthropists,” he continued.

“ You can all change your lives. You don’t need to be trapped.”
That lead to the tipping point and the event that lead to  starting  the Huron Carole — seeing a man lying bundled up in the middle of the street, mistaking him for a garbage bag and deciding to help him while other people walked past him, ignoring him.

“That could have been me,” he said adding he went to the closest soup kitchen and offered to help, which in turn lead to Jackson calling up his musician friends to put on a fundraising concert at the Massey hall, which failed, but lead to a smaller concert and more importantly, trucks full of food donations for the food bank.

 That was the cue to invite the current cast of musician friends, One More Girl,  Beverley Mahood, Don Amero and Shannon Gaye playing for the Huron Carole.
 They sang and played background music to his vocals on several Christmas  themed songs, for which he got the audience to sing along.
 They took a break after that before beginning the official Christmas concert portion of the event.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:14 )  
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