Categories: Entertainment

New Year’s Eve concert raises donations for Edmonton Food Bank

New Year’s Eve Concert
With Back Porch Swing, Edmonton Fiddlers, Celeigh Cardinal, Vissia, Pont de la Moustache, Benjamin Williams, Frank Bessai & Chris Smith and Bardic Form
Sunday, Dec. 31 from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
McDougall United Church
10025 – 101 St.
Admission: Free. A non-perishable donation or cash for the Edmonton Food Bank is welcome

Feed people. That’s the whole premise behind the 9th annual New Year’s Eve Concert taking place at McDougall United Church on Sunday, Dec. 31.

St. Albert’s Penny Malmberg, renowned within the regional folk-roots community as lead female singer for Back Porch Swing, is one of the driving forces of this thriving event that raises funds and collects non-perishables for the Edmonton Food Bank.

“When we started this, I was unsure of how it would go or if it would even be successful. But it’s been very successful beyond any expectations I might have had,” said Malmberg. She noted close to 800 people attended last year and the church collected more than $4,000 as well as several hundred pounds of food.

But the concert’s success is measured in more than material goods. Initially Malmberg was knocking on local musicians’ doors to ask if they would volunteer their time. Today, most artists contact her requesting a performance slot.

The four-piece Back Porch Swing, composed of Malmberg on vocals, her husband, Jim on mandolin, and Edmonton music veterans Kevin Jacobson (stand-up bass) and Cam Neufeld (fiddle) are hosting the three-hour gathering.

The down-to-earth foursome is also singing a set of their humorous original songs layered with hot licks and tight harmonies.

The eclectic slate of singer-songwriters is packed with recognizable names such as Celeigh Cardinal, Vissia, Pont de la Moustache, Benjamin Williams, Frank Bessai & Chris Smith, The Edmonton Fiddlers, and Bardic Form.

Métis singer-songwriter, Cardinal, whose voice hearkens back to the golden age of jazz, sings a hybrid of roots, folk, rock and pop.

“I heard her sing in the past year and she has a powerful voice. She’s an up and coming artist and I wanted other people to hear her.”

Instead Vissia, a.k.a. Alex Vissia from Stony Plain’s Vissia Sisters, just launched a new nine-track album. Place Holder has been hailed by critics as “pure rock ‘n’ roll at its finest.”

Alternatively Ponte de la Moustache fills their sets with Manouche-inspired hot club and cool jazz music while Bardic Form swings towards Latin and world rhythms.

As the concert rocks in McDougall’s sanctuary, the church’s basement will be converted into a children’s playground with free face painting, crafts and a puppet-making workshop. A puppet show from Puppet Palooza promises to be the children’s corner’s main attraction.

“Parents need to accompany their children. This is not a babysitting service,” explained Malmberg.

Desserts and refreshments will be on sale.

“People are very generous. Please give what you can, and if you can afford more, bring more. But we want this to be accessible to everyone. Don’t worry if you can’t afford it. Just come and enjoy the entertainment.”

Anna Borowiecki :Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.