Benefit concert honours skier

Jessica Eaman Memorial Fund concert gets kids cross-country skiing.

Vernon band Amistad

Vernon band Amistad

In life, cross-country skiing coach Jessica Eaman loved seeing the rosy, smiling cheeks of students learning how to glide through the pines at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre.

Organizers of her upcoming memorial concert hope the proceeds will pay for that scene to continue.

The second annual benefit concert for the J.E.S.S. 4 Kids ski fund, June 2 at Polson Park, raises money to give students in the North Okanagan the chance to try Nordic skiing who wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Almost a year after Eaman died in an Oyama car accident in March 2012, funds raised from the first concert allowed 33 students from the Okanagan Indian Band Immersion School to step off a bus at Sovereign and strap on a pair of cross-country skis for the first time.

Eaman was just a girl when she began Nordic skiing in Sovereign’s Jack Rabbit ski program. By the time she died at 26, she had coached dozens of young skiers.

“She really gave back to Sovereign, and we want to honour her memory,” said Jeff Bassett, one of the organizers behind the benefit concert.

The concert features performances by five local young musicians and bands: Siesta Motel, Jesse Mast, Eli Garlick and Hana Friedman, Morgan Hillis and Amistad. All of the musicians have been top finishers in the Our Kids Have Talent contest.

“This is a chance for people in Vernon to hear some great music and support a great cause,” said Bassett.

The concert takes place at the Polson Park bandshell from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is by donation and all proceeds will go to the J.E.S.S. 4 Kids fund.