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Give While You Groove
‘Next big thing’ from Nanaimo headlines Face to Face fundraiser.
Jennifer Feinberg, The Chilliwack Progress
November 9, 2001

The music press is calling the teenaged musician a mega-talent in the making.

Allison Crowe is a promising young pianist with a dark, rich voice that will age like a good wine.

The singer-songwriter hails from Nanaimo and says she’s proud to be leading off the musical portion of A Night Without Borders, a sophisticated night of music and fundraising for Face to Face at the Royal Hotel on November 22.

She’s fresh from a recent show where she headlined with jazz phenom Diana Krall and released an EP with half a dozen songs cunningly called Six Songs, recorded at Bif Naked’s recording studio.

"We are really all the same when it comes right down to it, as flesh and bone, and we should help each other out when we can," says Allison, explaining why she agreed to do the concert. "You never know when we, as comfortably as we live at this present time, might need help some day too."

The 19-year-old says she feels extremely fortunate and thankful to be able to live out her dream of making music now.

"In any other circumstance I might not have had the freedom to do what I love, such as I do now. So, yes, I am very grateful," she says.

Allison, along with Dave Baird (upright/electric bass) and Kevin Clevette (drums) will be joining local Celtic trio Murphy's Lagh and Rhythm Method on the Royal stage.

The Royal Hotel pub is a "dynamite room" to see and hear live music.

A Night Without Borders is the brainchild of Chilliwack resident Damian du Plessis, who runs the super-hip restaurant, Delilah's in Vancouver's west end, which has become a favourite haunt of such notables as David Duchovny, Robert de Niro, Charlize Theron.

"It all came from a sense of wanting to do something positive despite being bombarded on TV with the constant images of violence," he says. "I've literally turned CNN off recently and have been trying to concentrate on something hopeful and positive. People are bummed out and they need something that they can feel good about."

Learning about the extent of the human crisis going in Afghanistan, he was frustrated and felt he wanted to do something concrete to help.

"We decided we wanted to support the Face to Face effort, which we thought was a unique form of direct activism. My partner Louie and I are used to putting on these functions," he explains. "We've lived in Chilliwack almost four years so we're building a network of people as fast as we can who want to be involved in this special event."

The boys of Murphy's Lagh are bringing their high-energy, heart-warming, foot-stomping music and fun to the event.

Ireland's Damien Brennan (vocals, guitar, bodhran) along with bandmates Doug Riecken (vocals, banjo, mandolin, guitar) and Chris O'Brien (vocals, fiddle) inject a large dose of humour into their lively stage act.

Traditional Irish standards, Celtic rock, Maritime music and original tunes are all peppered with influences of bluegrass and country by these seasoned performers.

There's is literally a little something for everyone on Nov. 22, with a fantastic silent auction, cocktails and gala concert making it a full evening of entertainment and socializing.

"I think it's going to be like a huge house party for 250 people with special musical guests," says Mr. du Plessis.

It's all coming together very well and the Royal Hotel will be wholly transformed for the event, with ambiance galore in the way of candles and fresh flowers.

Louie De Jaeger takes care of percussion and vocals with Rhythm Method, a country, pop and dance band. He, along with lead singer Twila Wallace and Eric Saamanen, (bass, vocals), are looking forward to doing their part.

"We play for the fun of it. Whenever there's a benefit we can be counted on. They were looking for local bands and we all just wanted to be involved," he says. "This is a gift from Chilliwack and we wanted to be part of the package."

Doors open at 6 p.m. for delectable hors d'oeuvres and cocktails as guests mingle, schmooze and bid on the wonderful array of silent auction items, donated generously by local businesses. Sponsors of the event include Save-On-Foods, Shaw Local Programming and Evans Pro Audio.

Guests will move into the bar for by about 7 p.m. for the concert portion of the event when Allison Crowe hits the stage.

All of the night’s proceeds from the reception bar, ticket sales, silent auction, and donations will go to Face to Face, the Afghan Children’s Relief Fund.

If you can’t make it on Nov. 22 but want to contribute something for the silent auction or to make a donation, call the organizers at 824-0753 or email them at

Tickets are $10 and available at The Royal Hotel (45886 Wellington) 604-792-1201 or at The Chilliwack Progress (45860 Spadina) 604-702-5500.

[photograph by Glenn Olsen/Nanaimo Daily News] caption: Singer Allison Crowe will headline "A Night Without Borders" at the Royal Hotel, November 22.