Second Stars for Warm Hearts concert set for Feb. 23

Tara Bradbury
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When it comes to next weekend’s Stars for Warm Hearts concert, Shanneyganock is preparing to “Fling out the Flag.”

The guys will perform at the event, taking a break from working on a new album to be released in the spring. Untitled as of yet, the record will be reminiscent of some of the band’s more energetic, rowdy releases from the past.

“There’ll be some original stuff, some old, unrecorded stuff and a couple of surprises,” Shanneyganock frontman Chris Andrews said. “It’s a fun album, with more of a ‘Fling Out the Flag,’ patriotic-type feel.”

Stars for Warm Hearts, happening at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre Saturday, Feb. 23, is a fundraiser for Iris Kirby House, and part of The Telegram’s Warm Hearts campaign.

Along with Shanneyganock, other artists performing include Repartee, Chris Kirby and the Marquee, comedian John Sheehan, Mary Barry, Evry7th, the Neighbourhood Strays, Ian Foster and Jerry Stamp, with video participation by country star Tara Oram, I Mother Earth musician Brian Byrne and others. Welcoming music will be provided by trio Atlantic Union.

“It’s such an important cause, and domestic violence is something everybody would like to see go away,” Andrews said. “We want to help out in any way we can.”

Now in its second year, Warm Hearts aims to raise awareness of domestic violence in the community, as well as provide funds and items of new clothing to Iris Kirby House.

Throughout January and February, with the help of campaign patron Lynda Boyd of CBC’s “Republic of Doyle,” The Telegram has been collecting pyjamas, blankets, slippers, housecoats, socks, underwear, hats, mittens and scarves as well as personal hygiene items for the women and children staying at the shelter.

With the demise of the Canadian penny earlier this month, the campaign has been collecting them, as well — and so far has raised more than $2,300 in coppers alone, thanks to the generous support of Telegram readers.

Iris Kirby House is a 22-bed shelter where women and their children who are victims of domestic abuse can stay until they get back on their feet again.

In addition to emergency accommodations, the shelter provides second-stage housing, a 24-hour crisis line, advocacy and referrals, and empowerment group sessions, among other services.

Last year’s Stars for Warm Hearts concert contributed to more than $10,000 raised by the campaign, and a number of Iris Kirby House’s residents and former residents were in the audience.

“One resident who was at the concert contacted me afterwards to say that while sitting at the show, she felt like she was in the right place for the first time in her life,” said Gail Tobin, executive director of Iris Kirby House.

Although it’s Shanneyganock’s first year on the Warm Hearts stage — due to touring commitments last year — the majority of performers are back for the second time.

In fact, it was because of them that the show was originally organized: when the Warm Hearts campaign was launched, local performers began contacting The Telegram, asking if there was a way they could take part.

Many of them took it upon themselves to donate items of clothing as well as their time and talents to the campaign.

“I was proud to be a small part of something that made such an impact,” Chris Kirby said. “It’s a unique initiative, and I love being part of unique things, especially when they’re for something great.”

In the week after the show, Kirby and pop-synth group Repartee will head to Halifax for the East Coast Music Awards, where they’ve both been nominated — Kirby for Solo Recording of the Year and R&B/Soul Recording of the Year for his latest record, “Wonderizer,” and Repartee in the Rising Star Recording of the Year for their debut self-titled, full-length album.

At the show, Kirby and his band, The Marquee, will perform the song “Leave of Absence” from “Wonderizer” with a choir of students from Bishop Abraham Elementary School, under the direction of Kathy Conway-Ward.

“It’s definitely going to be the largest presentation the song has ever seen, but it needs it,” Kirby explained. “It has a lot of emotion, and there are no better people to bring that across than kids.”

Bellydance troupe The Neighbourhood Strays say, for them, it’s about the energy given and received at the Stars for Warm Hearts event, and the message the show sends.

“We’re thrilled to be performing again this year,” said troupe member Karen Humby. “Last year’s event was an extraordinary experience — the energy from the performers and the audience was amazing. To be able to support Iris Kirby House and the vital work they do is why we dance — to show women that they can regain their confidence, dignity and self-worth, and that there is a whole community behind them.  We are back with what is bound to be another fantastic show, one that sends a clear message that our support will always be there.”

Tickets for this year’s Stars for Warm Hearts show are $30 (taxes and fees included), and can be bought at the St. John’s Arts and

Culture Centre box office, by calling 729-3900, or online at

Those who contribute pennies or items of clothing (new only, please) to the campaign by dropping them off at The Telegram’s offices in the Village Shopping Centre will be entered into a draw for prizes, including tickets to the show and an iPad.

A donation area will be set up in the lobby of the Arts and Culture Centre on the night of the show, with tax receipts available for monetary donations.

To see actress Lynda Boyd’s video message about the Warm Hearts campaign and concert, visit

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: The Telegram, Iris Kirby House, Atlantic Union CBC Telegram readers.Iris Kirby House Year and RB/Soul Recording Bishop Abraham Elementary School

Geographic location: Halifax

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