Hunger Tour concerts in Merrickville


by Mark Oldfield

Feed Your Need for Culture and Help the Food Bank, Too! That’s the concept behind Steve Hurndell’s Hunger Tour. Steve, a Merrickville house-painter and anti-poverty activist, is organizing three pre-Christmas charity concerts that will bring top-notch talent to local venues and generate much needed resources for the less fortunate among us. Steve’s previous projects have raised nearly $2,000 in cold, hard cash, and hundreds of pounds of groceries, as well. With the Hunger Tour, he is taking his community work to the next level!

So who’s coming, where will they be playing, and when’s it all happening? Here’s a quick rundown:

Snow Ball 2017:
The fun begins Saturday, November 18, at the Merrickville Community Centre. It’s Snow Ball time, everybody! Get set for an awesome, eclectic mix of music with a rootsy, distinctly Canadian flavour. If you’re not up and dancing at this show, you don’t have a pulse. The roster includes Maria Hawkins (a.k.a. The Blues Lady of Ottawa). Maria reaches deep into her own experience of poverty and hardship to deliver vocals that are powerful, passionate and authentic. And it’s not just Blues the lady sings; Maria mixes it up with elements of R&B, Funk and Soul. All that, and a back-up band packed with virtuoso players driving the beat right to your feet!

Anna Ludlow. Nothing makes the toes tap like a Cape Breton jig, and nobody spins one out with more joy or precision than Anna Ludlow. Her love of Celtic-inspired music comes straight from the Nova Scotia heartland where she grew up and learned to play. Get ready for a high-energy performance filled with slick riffs, sweet songs, and a little step-dancing too!

Sophia Radisch. Time to rock it out, people. Sophia Radisch is an award-winning, Ottawa-based actress and musician who’s been writing and performing since she was 13. She uses a Gibson guitar and Marshall amps to produce a sound that is, at once, nostalgic and original, rough-edged and sultry. Don’t miss this chance to see one of Canada’s most exciting up-and-coming musical talents.

Ali McCormick: Last, but certainly not least, Ms. Ali McCormick, a singer/songwriter with her feet firmly planted in familiar soil. The “Lioness of Lanark” (so named for her thick mane of strawberry-blond hair) brings that country feeling to the night’s musical menu. Her songs are honest, earthy and beautifully crafted.

What a line-up! And only $30 per person! Tickets are available at, the Village Bean Coffee Shop on St. Lawrence Street in Merrickville, and at the Merrickville Book Emporium. Show time: 7:00 p.m. to midnight, with all the proceeds going to the Merrickville Food Bank.

Christmas in Merrickville Concert:
Music lovers who miss the Snow Ball will get a second chance to see and hear Anna Ludlow at the Merrickville United Church Food Drive, December 2, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The show is part of this year’s Christmas in Merrickville celebrations. Live music in a beautiful, intimate setting, streets filled with bright lights and sparkling decorations, stores packed with fabulous treats; it’s a pretty tempting package. You can buy tickets at the same locations mentioned above (or online at – $20 for adults, $10 for children. That concert is event #2 on the Hunger Tour calendar. Event #3 takes place a few minutes down the road.

Smiths Fall Legion Concert:

Steve Hurndell’s Hunger Tour 2017 wraps up Saturday, December 10 at the Smiths Falls Legion, featuring one of Canada’s foremost blues/rock performers – the one and only, the legendary Jack de Keyzer! Two-time Juno Award winner, and recipient of many other honours through his storied career. If you don’t know Jack, you’re in for a treat. If you’re already a fan, you definitely won’t want to miss this night. The doors open at 4:00 p.m., with an hour-long meet and greet session. Say hello to the musicians before they hit the stage. Come on out and mingle!

Jack de Keyzer and his band will be sharing the spotlight with two other brilliant performers mentioned earlier – Maria Hawkins and Sophia Radisch. This, folks, will be a show to remember!

Tickets are $35.00/person. That price includes the meet-and-greet PLUS a buffet dinner -chicken, pulled pork, salads and dessert. Reserve your pass at the website or by contacting Steve Hurndell directly ([email protected] … 613 809-6875). All guests are asked to bring a contribution for the Smiths Falls food bank in the form of packaged food products or baby supplies.

So, there you have it: Three nights of great entertainment, all to support a most worthy cause … Conquering Hunger at Christmas Time. In a society as rich as ours, there’s no reason why anyone should have to go to bed with an empty belly … during the holiday season or any other time of year. All food and funds raised by the Hunger Tour will stay in the communities where they’re collected. It’s also worth mentioning here that dozens of areas businesses are throwing their support behind the Hunger Tour. They all deserve a tip of the hat.

Hope to see you on the dance floor!


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