Paying tribute and playing around

Karla Hayward
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

To fight a silent illness, the Autism Society is going to make some noise

In support of an all-too-often silent disorder, local entertainers will come out singing, dancing, playing and laughing on Friday, June 1. That's when The Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador presents An Irish Tribute to Craig L. Dobbin. Accordingly, it's also a night to honour Dobbin, at his death one of St. John's most beloved businessmen.

Joyce Churchill is the society's president. She says, "We had intended to have an Irish concert, because of our Shamrock Farm. We'd talked about it in the past, and Craig (Dobbin) knew about that and was in favour of it. And he would have certainly been recognized at that concert. However, as we all know, that was not to be, and he passed away before we got a chance to do it. ... So now, all that's left to do is to pay tribute to him in this way."

Craig L. Dobbin

In support of an all-too-often silent disorder, local entertainers will come out singing, dancing, playing and laughing on Friday, June 1. That's when The Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador presents An Irish Tribute to Craig L. Dobbin. Accordingly, it's also a night to honour Dobbin, at his death one of St. John's most beloved businessmen.

Joyce Churchill is the society's president. She says, "We had intended to have an Irish concert, because of our Shamrock Farm. We'd talked about it in the past, and Craig (Dobbin) knew about that and was in favour of it. And he would have certainly been recognized at that concert. However, as we all know, that was not to be, and he passed away before we got a chance to do it. ... So now, all that's left to do is to pay tribute to him in this way."

Dobbin became involved with the society after his wife, Elaine, became the patron of their capital campaign. The Elaine Dobbin Centre for Autism was later established to aid individuals affected by the disorder.

An Irish Tribute to Craig L. Dobbin will be hosted by Canada AM's Seamus O'Regan and will feature performances by Kevin Collins, Ron Hynes, Pamela Morgan, Pete "Snook" Soucy, Peter Halley, The Celtic Fiddlers, The Sean Silver Irish Dancers and The Masterless Men.

Georgina Cook is chairwoman of the society's fundraising committee. She explains the high-profile roster thusly, "Some (featured entertainers) have persons in their families with autism. So, when we gave them an opportunity to help us do this, they were only too glad to say yes. Others knew Craig personally and have done different things with him. And they jumped at the chance to pay their respects again in a tribute to him."

She also notes that in addition to the musical tribute and a special highlight video, some participants will speak directly to the audience on Dobbin's "wonderful character and love of Irish music."

Churchill notes that while autism has not garnered as much attention as other disorders and diseases, it is on the rise in our province. "We've just been struck by the continuing increase in the rates of autism. The prevalence right now is up around 1 in 135 or so. ... The last statistic we heard here in Newfoundland in terms of diagnosis this year was that the Janeway had diagnosed about 35 up until now, this year."

Some attribute this rise in rates to both an expanded awareness of the disease, especially by diagnosticians, and an expanded understanding of autism as a spectrum disorder. But, accordingxto Churchill,xmost experts seem to agree that rates are truly on the rise - possibly due to environmental causes even though the disorder most likely has a genetic base.

Cook says, "These (autistic) children and adults deserve a functioning life, and what we are trying to do here is give them a functioning life. Take them to the hockey games, to concerts, down to a baseball games. Whatever we would normally take someone to, this is what we want for persons with autism." The society also provides education and training to professionals, caregivers and family members.

Promising loads of fun, laughter and likely some emotional moments, Churchill invites the public to hurry and pick up their show tickets.

"We say it's a win, win, win evening. It's a chance to say thank you to someone we respect so much. It's a chance to enjoy some entertainment. And it's a chance to raise some money for needed programs and services."

An Irish Tribute to Craig L. Dobbin will take place June 1 at The St. John's Arts and Culture Centre. Funds raised will go towards autism programs and services provided provincially. Tickets for the show are $50 plus HST, and can be purchased at the Arts and Culture Centre box office by calling 729-3900.

telyarts@yahoo.com

Organizations: Autism Society, Celtic

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's, Canada

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments