Story and photos by Sarah Crookall
United they stood. Bands for Brothers in Arms played a full day benefit concert in support of Wounded Warriors at the Oshawa Armoury on Aug. 11.
Spanning the Durham Region, 14 bands provided entertainment for the fundraising event in downtown Oshawa. Guests were able to enjoy food, as well as win door and raffle prizes while supporting Canadian soldiers and their families.
Saturday’s all-day event got to a rocking start with host band, Stone Soup. The band’s name is no coincidence. The title comes from a folk story about hungry soldiers who bring a community together with soup made from stones and boiled water.
“We are a charity band, we don’t play for money. And this is our third concert this year,” said Stone Soup bassist and veteran, Mark Coe.
The band also played concerts raising funds for cancer research and Grandview Children’s Centre. Coe is a veteran who returned from deployment three years ago, and knows the value of the Wounded Warriors organization.
“As a returning vet the Wounded Warriors helped me integrate back into civilian life,” said Coe.
Wounded Warriors is a non-profit organization that provides mental and physical support for soldiers who have served in the Canadian Forces.
“Since the Wounded Warriors helped me out, how else could I give back to my community? The best way would be through music,” said Coe.
Split up into a day show and an evening show, attendees could enjoy a day jam packed with music, or support the cause by the afternoon or evening sets. In between bands, door prizes were given and raffles were drawn.
“We hadn’t played for a while and we thought it would be a great show to start out with, especially because of Wounded Warriors. Our last EP was actually about the soldiers,” said Colin Radu of band Beyond the Sun.
“Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the amount of support people show,” said Coe. “We have a young man who played for 30 minutes; he came all the way from Barrie because he felt that strongly about the cause.”
Local high schools volunteered to help organize the event, along with members from the public. A couple of the dozen companies that sponsored the concert included Best Buy Canada and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Coe hopes to make Bands for Brothers in Arms an annual event. Next year the group will aim for a larger outdoor venue.
While Stone Soup is already planning their next charity gig, Coe assures that this benefit’s name is more than a play on words. “The name is not gender specific,” he said.
Both males and females are included in the definition of what it means to be a soldier.