It’s hard to know where to begin describing the talents of Helen Austin, a featured guest of the 1st Tuesday Fundraiser at the Mex Pub on June 2.
Classically trained with a successful 20-year career as a headlining musical comedian in the UK, Helen is also a Juno Award-winning songwriter, winner of a Canadian Folk Music Award and The John Lennon Songwriting Competition’s Song of the Year, a children’s entertainer, and record producer. With more than 70 synch placements on ads, television and movies and a brand new duo called Big Little Lions producing impressive reviews, Helen’s artistic expression continues to surprise and delight her many fans.
Austin will be performing a benefit concert in support of the Comox Valley Hospice Society, with admission by donation.
Joining Helen for the evening is local and world renowned dobro player Doug Cox, whose musical career intersects with some of the world’s finest musicians. Doug has spent a lifetime in the music industry both as a musician and promoter, record producer, session player, TV and radio interviewer, and musical instructor. Cox is well known in the Comox Valley as an accomplished blues player and as the artistic director and executive director of the Vancouver Island MusicFest. He has toured extensively and has an impressive discography to his credit, and to the delight of his local fans, continues to make music that is genuine and accessible with regular performances at the Cumberland Hotel with longtime friend Sam Hurrie.
Also joining Austin for this benefit concert is her daughter Daisy on violin, and percussionist Jim Stepan.
“I’ve had a very rewarding career, and I’m very fortunate to have had the opportunities that have come my way,” says Helen. “The support of my family is a huge part of that. It looks like one smooth transition when you read it on paper, but what you don’t include in your bio are the dry spells, the learning curves, the research, and the number of times you hear the word no.”
Austin’s commitment to the community is also notable with years of hosting the Comox Valley Songwriter’s Circle and her involvement with the Strathcona Symphony Orchestra, Fiddle Jam, Relay for Life, and fundraising for the Comox Vally Hospice Society with musical trio Voices Three.
The Comox Valley Hospice Society (CVHS) provides a wide range of supports to local families, including compassionate care for people who are living with life-limiting illness and their families and caregivers, bereavement counselling, respite services, a hospital bed loan program and a wealth of reading material available to help guide families through these difficult transitions.
In mid-July residential hospice care will now be an additional option of care for people in the Comox Valley. Volunteers come from all walks of life, and complete an in-depth training to familiarize them with the unique physical and emotional challenges that often come during these difficult times.
Some volunteers bring specialized training in the fields such as music therapy, Reiki, Healing Touch, reflexology and other modalities. Representatives from CVHS will be attending the event with information available, and to issue tax receipts if requested.
The evening at the Mex Pub starts at 7:30 p.m. with an opening set by event organizers Judy and Bruce Wing, joined by violinist Blaine Dunaway. Donations of food for the Comox Valley Food Bank are also appreciated. For more information about the evening’s entertainment visit helenaustin.com or dougcox.org. For more information about Comox Valley Hospice Society, visit comoxhospice.com