The band Agent C and Top Secret at the 2016 edition of the annual Blues for the Bank benefit concert, which raises funds for Surrey Food Bank’s Tiny Bundles program. (File photo: Gord Goble)

BENEFIT CONCERT

‘Blues for the Bank’ party returns to help feed Surrey moms and babies

‘This is just a great night every year, with food and lots of fun,’ says singer Chris Thornley

This month in Guildford, an annual night of music, dancing and food will benefit Surrey Food Bank’s Tiny Bundles program.

Tickets are $35 for this year’s Blues for the Bank, set to take place on Saturday, Jan. 25 in a ballroom at Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel.

Every winter, the Agent C and Top Secret Band gets its groove on for the cause.

The Tiny Bundles program is designed for pregnant moms and families with babies aged newborn to one year. “Pregnancy and the first year of a baby’s life are critically important for healthy development,” notes a post at surreyfoodbank.org. “Proper nutrition and support lays a good foundation for the rest of their lives.”

The Sheraton hotel donates space for the annual concert and dance, and every cent collected is given to Tiny Bundles. Doors open at 7 p.m. at 15269 104th Ave., Surrey, and the music starts at 7:30 p.m.

For tickets, visit bluesforthebank.com or call 604-501-5566.

• RELATED STORY, from 2018: Urge to play historic blues bar led to annual benefit concert in Surrey.

Now retired from the graphic design business, Chris Thornley still loves to sing and play harmonica at Blues for the Bank.

“This year we thought we’d throw in some British blues – some Rolling Stones, some Animals,” said Thornley, a White Rock resident. “That’ll be a special set this year.”

The band also features singer Angela Clarke, Jim DeKleer on violin, Jeff Garland on bass, Terry Gerrard on saxophone, Dave Gilbert on drums and Bill Kudenchuk on guitar. As a special guest, Bruce Hayne is on keyboards.

“We’re looking to have a special guest or two as well,” Thornley added.

“This is just a great night every year, with food and lots of fun.”

In a way, the benefit event got its start in 2006 because Thornley wanted a reason to perform music at the fabled Yale blues bar in Vancouver, in celebration of his birthday.

“I decided, yes, we’re going to play the Yale, so I went down there and talked them into hiring our band to do a fundraiser for the food bank, which required a little bit of fancy talking since I didn’t really have a band,” Thornley recalled in 2018.

“We did the gig and we raised, I don’t know, a couple thousand dollars for the food bank, at the Yale, and we actually had to, like, post a bond with them – a cheque for $500 in case nobody showed up for the event,” Thornley recalled with a laugh. “And the morning after our event I got a call from the Yale saying, ‘That was fantastic, can you do it again?’ And we’ve been doing it ever since. We went back to the Yale the second year, and that was pretty much it there. We tried a couple other places over the years, but we found a real home at the Sheraton in Guildford.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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