On Sunday, November 24th Canadian country songstress and humanitarian, Elyse Saunders and Music Mentor Productions held their second annual "Warm Coats Warm Hearts" Benefit Concert at Revival Bar. Admission to the event was a gently used or new coat/winter wear, with the goal to raise coats to be distributed to a select group of agencies: Eva's Initiatives, New Circles and Jessie's Centre to help those in need. Eva's Initiatives helps get troubled and at risk youth off the streets with shelter and programs to help them get off the streets permanently, New Circles welcomes families and new families into Canada by providing assistance with clothing and other resources and Jessie's House provides shelter and help for teenage mothers and their children.
The venue was decorated for the event to give a warm and intimate feel. Revival Bar is so versatile, they have had so many different kind of acts and artists there all the way from Justin Timberlake, famous DJ's, and many country artists, one being George Canyon. CMT has hosted many live to air events there as well.
The evening involved an array of music from several artists and was hosted by magician and MC "Baldini". Arlene Paculan and Kat Leonard opened the night with their duo act which a combination of hilarious and soulful music. Arlene is a soulful story teller and Kat is a musical comedian. They go back and forth between being serious and fun!
Arlene Paculan, Elyse Saunders and Kat Leonard
Donna Ferra, whose soulful voice always grabs you, also performed. She is a singer songwriter and has released 7 singles to Country radio. She always brings a fun energy to her performances along with great songs!
Elyse Saunders also performed and did an arrangement of her own, recently written songs and one she just recorded called "Just Like Mama" which will be featured on her upcoming new EP. She gave copy giveaways of the song in raffle baskets. Elyse also covered a bunch of fun songs that she is best known for through youtube and also performed her Christmas single "Warm Christmas" which was inspired by the event. (Check it out HERE) Peter Linseman played acoustic for Elyse's set and also helped organize the event with Elyse, "Music Mentor Productions". Richard Henderson accompanied Elyse on Lap Steel and James Burton on drums.
James Burton, Elyse Saunders, Peter Linseman & Richard Henderson
Elyse Saunders will also be releasing her winter single "Warm Christmas". Elyse co-wrote the song last year with Peter Linseman in support of the event and wanted to give the message that Christmas isn't all about the presents to spend it with your loved ones, to enjoy the little things and to give a hand to those who need it. The "Warm" part of the song represents love. It was inspired by this event with the message of not taking things for granted and appreciating the little things and people in your life.
Kiri and Dane Hartsell, a Universal Music Artist, also did some songs together, as well as performing separately and they did an arrangement of unique and soulful covers. Kiri performed beautifully while singing with her guitar and Dane did some really nice harmonies. After Kiri finished up Dane did a bunch of his own originals and a cover he is well known for "Superstition", all accompanying himself on guitar as well. Dane's performance had a lot of romantic, touching and soulful material.
Elyse Saunders, Tianna Woods (dropping off some coats) & Peter Linseman
"I was very happy with how the whole night went as there was a lot of planning involved and we were into our second year. We put together about 5 raffle baskets and had a silent auction. Martoni Coats & Jackets (www.martoni.ca) a local designer from North York donated about 25 coats which were adult and children size for the cause. We will be giving all of the jackets collected to a few agencies in Toronto. We had a speaker from each agency come and speak on behalf of their agency and to let people know what they do and where peoples coats will be going," said Elyse. "We had a great audience considering it was freezing the day of November 24th and they were so supportive!
At the end of the night all of the artists, musicians and MC all joined in to sing "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" a Christmas carol to leave everyone feeling great!