It’s been years of hoping and waiting in anticipation, but a group of Okanagan elders will finally be able to say “Wáy”, the Syilx word for hello, when one of their favourite performers makes his way to Vernon.
Canadian actor, musician and philanthropist Tom Jackson is bringing his new show, Twas the Moon of Wintertime: An Evening of Song and Celebration to the Vernon Recreation Centre Thursday.
The concert is being hosted by the elders at Vernon’s First Nations Friendship Centre, and has been three years in the making, said spokesperson Mollie Bono, a councillor with the Okanagan Indian Band and recently re-elected Vernon school trustee.
“His annual Christmas tradition with over 20 concerts hosted in community halls and churches across Canada caught our elders’ attention at the First Nations Friendship Centre,” said Bono. “Even before they saw Tom at the Salmon Arm concert and Kelowna concert two years ago, they have been committed to seeing him on stage in Vernon. This concert is indeed the fulfilment of their vision and wish for a vibrant, energetic and compassionate evening with an amazing musician, philanthropist and First Nations role model.”
A celebrated singer and songwriter, known for his warm bass-baritone, Jackson has recorded 15 albums, including his latest, Twas in the Moon of Wintertime, released in October.
The album, and tour of the same name, celebrates the 20 years Jackson has travelled across Canada to raise awareness and funds for food banks, community services and charitable organizations.
Born to an English father and Cree mother on the One Arrow Reserve in Saskatchewan, Jackson was raised in Winnipeg, where he left school at the age of 15. He has said that the seven years he spent living on the back streets were instrumental in forming his leadership style, determination to make a difference, and his belief in helping others.
Jackson’s long-running Huron Carole benefit concert series, with accompanying TV special and album, which he retired after 17 years of touring, and his more recent Singing for Supper and Swinging for Supper are just some of the ways he has given back.
His philanthropic efforts earned him an induction as Officer of the Order of Canada in 1999, and more recently, he was appointed as the 10th chancellor of Trent University in Peterborough, Ont.
Also a recognizable actor, Jackson is probably best known for his role as Chief Peter Kenidi on the hailed CBC-TV series, North of 60. Besides the six seasons he starred on the show, and its subsequent films, Jackson has appeared on Sesame Street, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He also had a four-season stint playing Billy Twofeathers on children’s series Shining Time Station. His film work includes Skinwalkers, The Diviners, Grizzly Falls and Meeshee The Water Giant.
“We are thrilled to sponsor this event that will support Tom in his commitment to raise money for food banks and family agencies across Canada,” said Bono. “Tom is moved to action by the increasing concerns around homelessness and global food insecurity and we hope that you will come out and support this initiative while enjoying a fabulous concert.”
Jackson’s Twas the Moon of Wintertime: An Evening of Song and Celebration takes the stage at the Vernon Recreation Centre auditorium Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 (all seats) available at the Ticket Seller in the Vernon Performing Arts Centre. Call 549-7469 or order online at www.ticketseller.ca.