Clayton Height’s JoJo Mason and Langley’s Karen Lee Batten are among the country artists performing June 21 during a flood relief fundraiser at Gabby’s. (Special to Black Press)

Country music community plans dual flood relief fundraisers

Langley’s Gabby’s Country Cabaret will be one of two sites for a charity concert on Thursday, June 21.

B.C.’s country music community, spearheaded by Langley’s own Linda Corscadden and Karen Lee Batten, is pulling together to help one of its own.

Brian Thate, past president of the BC Country Music Association, has been homeless after the floods affected the Grand Forks area earlier this spring.

What better way to help out than to throw a fundraiser, said Corscadden, who spearheaded a similar fire relief fundraiser last year at Gabby’s Country Cabaret in Langley.

Thate and his wife Monica “pretty much lost everything in the flood,” Corscadden explained. His home has to be demolished and rebuilt, and the RV park that has been in his family for more than 20 years – that houses seniors – has extensive damage and it’s not covered by insurance.

“It broke my heart when I saw the videos and talked to Brian on the phone… For a big robust guy, hearing his voice quiver being so upset just ripped me apart,” she said.

“We want to help these families get back on their feet.”

That’s when she reached out to Batten and Agassiz musician Todd Richard – who helped organize last year’s fundraiser – to make it all happen.

They’re actually organizing two fundraiser, in tandem, said Corscadden, president of the BCCMA and a long-time Langley resident who recently moved to Kelowna.

One of the fundraising concerts is being held at Gabby’s in Langley on Thursday, June 21, starting at 7:30 p.m.

This event will feature Batten, Richard, Clayton Height’s own JoJo Mason, the Chris Buck Band, and a special guest appearance by former Langleyite Aaron Pritchett.

Admission is by a minimum donation of $15.

“It will be a sell out,” Corscadden is convinced. All money raised go to these families, to help with clean-up and restoration costs.

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The same night, and at the same time, there’s a fundraiser being held at the OK Corral Cabaret in Kelowna. That fundraising concert will feature Aaron Halliday, Son of John, the Hillside Outlaws, and Beamer Wigley.

“Why do we step in? We aren’t just a province, we are a community. When family needs help, I’ll always offer to help, and with the BCCMA backing us… we’ll jump in to help any way we can,” Corscadden said, noting BCCMA is using the hashtag #BCSTRONG to promote this and other such efforts.

“Music heals, so what better way to help the people who have been affected than to throw a fundraiser with live music.”

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