There would be no tunes without teeth.
For those low-income residents who have decayed or missing teeth, not only is eating difficult, so is singing or playing an instrument.
Without the means to pay for oral care, many have had to keep their mouths shut about the things many of us take for granted.
However, there has been reason to sing since the Community Dental Access Centre opened its doors in Vernon over a year ago.
With years of lobbying, planning, and fundraising, the low-cost dental clinic now provides basic restorative and hygiene services to low-income people in the North Okanagan.
The clinic, which is run by a not-for-profit society, has the ultimate goal to become self-sufficient and not be dependent on government funding or grants. But in the meantime, it relies on donations and grants, volunteering, in-kind contributions and community support and partnerships.
For the second year, locals can show their support by purchasing a ticket for Tunes for Teeth, a fundraising concert for the Community Dental Access Clinic.
Organized by Julie Harmer, a director with the CDAC society, Tunes for Teeth 2 takes place April 19 at Emmanuel Baptist Church and features a wealth of musical talent. It follows last year’s successful concert, which started after a resident was in need of emergency dental care, said Harmer.
“A friend, who is a musician, offered to do a concert to help,” she said, adding, “The clinic is still in need of money in a big way, so we thought instead to do a big concert. All the musicians are donating their time and talents to put this on.”
Performing this year are bands Steel Wound and MACE, both of Vernon, as well as some young soloists, including this year’s Our Kids Have Talent winner Jesse Mast of Salmon Arm, and past OKHT finalist Brandon Schmor, also of Vernon.
At only 17 years old, Mast is making a name for himself as a country music artist, although his writing and playing styles have been impacted more by classic rock and soft acoustic.
Mast grew up in Edmonton, listening to Christian contemporary, rock n’ roll and bluegrass. His first exposure to modern country music was when his uncle handed him a copy of Ropin’ the Wind by Garth Brooks, who became his hero and inspiration.
Mast says he has been blessed to work with some fantastic people while getting his music career underway, and recently had the opportunity to work with some country music professionals, including Gord Banford.
Returning to perform for Tunes for Teeth is Steel Wound, who have over a century of musical experience between them and an obvious enjoyment for the music they make.
The acoustic trio presents a repertoire of original tunes and semi-obscure alt-root jazzy country blues played by multi-instrumentalists Keith Hustler, Kerry Parks, and Rod MacDonald.
Together, they trade lead vocals, building three-part harmonies, and resort to mandolin, tuba and slide guitar when called upon. They also make old songs sound new again, and make new ones sound vaguely familiar.
No stranger to the Okanagan music scene, MACE started its journey together in 1981. The band quickly developed a reputation for intuitive song selection and dynamic stage presence, a perfect combination for audiences looking for an exciting evening of rock and roll.
A fixture at several local and valley nightclubs throughout the ‘80s, MACE was the original Funtastic band and eventually took their act on the road, appearing throughout the province.
Halted by a personnel change in 1984, the band resurfaced with a new drummer and keyboard player and underwent a few reformations throughout the ‘80s and ‘90.
Today’s lineup includes original members Jackson Mace on lead vocals and guitar and Jeff Gamble on lead guitar/vocals, joined by drummer Don Redgwell and bassist Brett Osborne.
Schmor is also no stranger to Vernon.
The 18-year-old honky tonk piano player is also a singer-songwriter and piano collector, who has more than 30 in his collection.
Schmor’s style ranges from gospel and swing to blues and rock. He has placed in the Top 10 twice in Our Kids Have Talent and won third place in 2010.
He has been invited to play at numerous gigs throughout the Okanagan, including the Sunshine Festival, Summerland Action Fest, the B.C. Winter Games, the JCI Hospital Gala, and Alan Brooks Nature Centre to name a few.
Tunes for Teeth 2 takes place at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 3412-15th Ave. Friday, April 19 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20, now available at the Bean Scene, Talkin’ Donkey and Discovery Shoes. They will also be available at the door, which opens at 6 p.m.