Dancers swayed to the blues stylings of Randy McAllister and his band on Thursday night at Spirit Square. It was part of the Mirror’s Jazz and Blues Charity Weekend, which continues until Saturday evening. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Jazz and Blues Charity Weekend kicks off in Campbell River

Concert series raises money for Special Olympics, Grassroots Kind Heart and Transition Society

Music lovers were tapping their toes for a good cause on Thursday night, as Texas bluesman Randy McAllister and his band performed at Spirit Square. It was a benefit concert for the Campbell River Special Olympics chapter, and part of the Mirror’s Jazz and Blues Charity Weekend.

Amaro and Christine Lozano of Anahemi, Calif., were among the concert goers at the Mirror’s Jazz and Blues Charity Weekend on Thursday. “We love Campbell River,” said Amaro. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Among the revellers was Matti Jeffreys, who takes part in the local Special Olympics group. Asked what brought him out on Thursday night, he said: “The music! And the Special Olympics.”

The music showcased the vocals, harmonica and drumming of Randy McAllister, who hails from a small town in central Texas called Novice.

Concert goers were asked to donate $5 in exchange for the entertainment. The fundraiser comes as local athletes and coaches prepare for Special Olympics nationals, which take place next week in Antigonish, N.S.

The local Special Olympics chapter is able to provide a full slate of activities to its members for an annual $15 membership fee, including swimming several times a week at the pool, said Sandy Ott, a swimming coach.

“They’re so busy,” said Ott. “They’re always doing something.”

READ MORE: Campbell River sends five to Nova Scotia for Special Olympics nationals

The weekend of fundraising continues on Friday evening with an R&B band called Time Well Wasted. That show is supporting the Grassroots Kind Heart Society, a group that provides home-cooked meals to people struggling with poverty.

Matti Jeffreys takes part in the local Special Olympics group. He was among the concert-goers at Spirit Square on Thursday evening. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

On Saturday evening, it’s the Jen Hodge All Stars, a jazz band with a ragtime sound. Money raised from that concert will benefit the Transition Society, a group that provides a range of services including emergency shelters for women and children at risk of violence and abuse.

The shows all take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at Spirit Square.

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