Music community coming together for one of its own

Benefit concert/auction for local jazz musician at Roy's Towne Pub March 8

Blaine Dunaway

Scott Stanfield

Record Staff

Eight bands will perform over eight hours at Roy’s Towne Pub in Royston at a March 8 benefit for jazz musician Blaine Dunaway.

Vision problems have forced the composer/performer/teacher to relinquish his role as concertmaster of the Strathcona Symphony Orchestra.

The 68-year-old Cumberland resident has undergone two surgeries to repair macular holes in his retinas.

These were covered by the Medical Services Plan. However, Dunaway is not covered for specialized diagnostics, lens transplants and additional correction of holes in the retina.

His friends are trying to raise $5,000 to offset costs, including travel, for two surgeries in March. Incidental costs such as prescription sunglasses add to the financial burden. Six weeks’ recovery time also translates into lost income.

The good news is an online fundraiser for Blaine has generated $2,615.

“The community is being wonderful,” Dunaway said. “It’s a little overwhelming.”

He excels on the violin and trumpet, though Dunaway no longer plays the latter. He also teaches beginner’s cello.

Before moving to the Valley, Dunaway had taught at Capilano College and Vancouver Community College, among other schools. He started a symphony in Brandon, Man., and initiated a big band jazz group and concert band on the Sunshine Coast. All are still going.

Among peers, Dunaway is known as an improvisor, but his love is writing music — complicated music for multiple instruments.

He would like to pen more classical and jazz string ensemble compositions.

“I’ll be able to at least read music again, I’m hoping,” said Dunaway, who was concert master for one term with the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra.

“I don’t run the seawall anymore,” he added with a laugh. “I want to be able to maximize my effectiveness in the Valley. There’s a lot of things I can do, a lot of things I would like to be able to do.”

Dunaway acknowledges the efforts and support of pub owners Charlie and Judi Aiken.

“We have gotten to know him and his lovely wife (Charmian), so when we found out about the issue we decided to help,” Charlie said.

Todd Butler MCs the Sunday event — dubbed Blaine’s Rock to See — which Butler and fellow musician Doug Cox will kick off with the first performance. It runs from 2-10 p.m. There will be a live and silent auction.


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