Riverdale Share Concert to feature more variety this year

Performers at the 36th annual Riverdale Share Concert.
The 37th Annual Riverdale Share Concert will be held at 3 p.m., Dec. 8 at the Danforth Music Hall. 

There will be major star power at the Riverdale Share Concert. In its 27th year, the Danforth Music Hall’s longest continually running show is headlining jazz powerhouse Julie Michels, folk soul artist Julian Taylor, and singer/song writer Kathryn Rose on Dec. 8.

Each year Riverdale Share gathers the local business community, volunteers, local school children, and performers to put on the annual extravaganza which is a neighbourhood favourite. There will be some beloved repeat performers, but this year marks a few changes.

“We’re adding a bit more of a variety show feel to the show,” executive director Susan Baker said. “It won’t just be straight musical acts. There are going to be some vaudevillian variety show pieces to it.”

Longtime Riverdale resident Jacqueline Crosbie believes the Riverdale Share Concert is fabulous for more than just the entertainment.

“For many people it was the only Christmas concert they attended,” Crosbie said. “The Riverdale Share concert is an event that attracts all ages of the community. Many of our children grew up going to the concert every year.”

Tom Leighton and the Riverdale Share Band return to perform again. For Leighton it has been a “pleasure to be part of such a wonderful creative team” for almost 20 years. As musical arranger, Leighton takes about a month to compose all the orchestrations for the 14-member band.

Tom Leighton performing at a past Riverdale Share Concert.
Riverdale Share bandleader Tom Leighton spends weeks composing orchestrations for the concerts.

The popular concert’s goal is to raise funds for local charities and this year donors will be able to meet some of the recipients.

“We are going to be featuring a few recipients this year during the show to let people know where the money goes,” Baker said. “We want to make a direct connection between when people put the money in the envelope. Whatever you donate, there is a direct result and we want to show that this year.”

Last year’s concert raised approximately $50,000 dollars. Riverdale Share has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past 27 years.

“One of the things that we are really stressing this year is that in a neighbourhood, and a community, and a city, with so much abundance, there are still a lot of people who are left behind,” Baker said.

Riverdale Share’s volunteer committee continues to work throughout the year with their recipients. Over the past 27 years they have taken a hands-on approach with Out of the Cold at Eastminster Church.

“It’s a fabulous program. They feed anywhere from 80 to 120 people every Friday night,” Baker said. ” They have access to clean clothing, showers, and medical attention. They come in at 5 p.m. and get a salad, bread and a hot soup. Followed by a hot meal and dessert.

“Most of the time we are just giving money to charities in the neighbourhood, but sometimes we get in and do hands on work with them,” Baker said. “We are really proud of the work we are doing there.”

Crosbie can’t wait for this year’s Riverdale Share concert and for the first time she takes a grandchild.

“I do hope,” Crosbie said. “And I know a whole new generation is being brought up with the tradition of the Riverdale Share concert.”

Visit the Riverdale Share Concert’s website for more information on performers, recipients and where to purchase tickets.

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Posted: Nov 29 2019 10:21 am
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