Unison Holiday Special going virtual — and open to the public

It’s no surprise at this point to learn that the Unison Benevolent Fund won’t be hosting its normal end-of-the-year fundraising gala in person. 

Instead, the organization will throw open the doors and offer the Canada In Unison Holiday Special: In Concert on December 17 starting at 8 p.m. via Sessions Live. 

In the announcement, released Thursday morning, the Unison Benevolent Fund says the virtual concert will help raise money to support musicians in need during this most difficult year. 

Among the artists slated to perform include Iskwe + Tom Wilson, Jim Cuddy, July Talk, Matthew Good, members of Mother Mother, Ruth B., Neon Dreams, Sarah Harmer, Tom Hicks, Scott Helman, The Glorious Sons, Tom Jackson and the Sam Roberts band, along with others to be announced later or as surprise guests. It will be part virtual live event along with some pre-recorded performances, with the goal of drawing attention to “the increased demand and urgency to support the Canadian music industry during this difficult time as their need for support substantially increases with so many music people out of work and in need due to the pandemic.” 

The Unison Benevolent Fund has received requests for help at a 5,500% increase this year, and $1.2 million has already been dispersed to more than 2,200 musicians and entertainment professionals in Canada. The need, unfortunately, isn’t going to slow down or go away any time soon. 

“With venues, tours and festivals shut down and indefinitely paused due to COVID-19, those in the music industry who rely on the live business for revenue have been severely impacted, leaving numerous entertainment professionals out of work and requiring emergency relief assistance that Unison provides,” the organization says. 

Adds Bernie Breen, chair of the Unison Benevolent Fund’s board of directors, “As requests for help continue to increase substantially and we head into the winter months, the Unison Benevolent Fund hopes that it can continue to raise the much-needed funds to ensure stability and resiliency in the Canadian music industry over the course of this pandemic and beyond. We are extremely grateful to the artist participants and everyone that has supported us over the years and during these challenging times.” 

If you want to help out and provide support for the musicians who have given us so much, tickets are $30 and can be purchased here now. All proceeds and donations will go to the Unison Benevolent Fund. 

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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