By Connie Adair
For Adam Dumond it’s all about moments. Moments of joy, moments of inspiration and moments to lift people and make them feel special, all through music. Small moments combine into a big one each year to benefit charity.
Last year, his Sarnia Sings event raised $15,000 for local mental health and suicide prevention. This year, the goal is to break the $20,000 mark, says the sales rep with Royal LePage Key Realty in Sarnia, Ont.
Dumond says the fundraiser puts talented local singers in front of a professional band to perform for hundreds of people. The show is open to singers of all ages who were born and raised in Sarnia. Last year’s show ranged from kids to an 86-year-old who had attempted suicide. She didn’t want to sing by herself, but instead brought her singing group and performed Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World, Dumond says.
She and others shared their “moments”, incredibly powerful stories of local people who have lost someone to suicide or who currently suffer from mental health issues. “However, it does not deter from a good and happy event,” he says. Stories were done in a tasteful manner for the all-ages show, and let people know it’s okay to talk about mental health.
Dumond came up with the idea for the show after attending Royal LePage’s national conference in 2016, where he participated in a karaoke challenge and loved it. A band member told him that five to 10 per cent of any population can sing and that everyone has a song they love.
A couple of months later, there was a local suicide and sports commentator Michael Landsberg said in his Facebook feed that people need to help Sarnia, his hometown. Inspired by Landsberg’s message, Dumond created Sarnia Sings. He hired Rock Star Live, a live karaoke band that includes real rock stars, he says. He rented a theatre, sought sponsorship and sold tickets.
The event and stories were so moving that after the show, sponsors reached out to Dumond, telling him they wanted to double their donations for the next event. Rock Star Live band members gave him a discount on their fee and vowed to return for 2018. “They said they felt fortunate to be part of the event,” he says.
To publicize the national conference in 2016, where he spoke about how to use videos in personal marketing, he put his creativity to work. He put three go-pros in his car and sang with Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage and Kiki Sauriol-Roode, vice president of business development at Genworth Canada, to create a Carpool Karaoke-type video to publicize the conference. He employed the same marketing strategy for Sarnia Sings.
The videos have put him in the spotlight. “People look out for me. I’m recognized all over town as the carpool guy. It has created more recognition,” he says. “I meet people and they understand I’m a good guy. But the videos are way down on the list of why I wanted to do the show. Sarnia is a small town, and when suicide happens, everyone feels it. It affects people for a long time.”
Funds raised by Sarnia Sings go to the Canadian Mental Health Association, St. Clair Child & Youth Services and The Deker Bauer Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a non-profit drop-in centre that provides people with a place to stay, talk and eat, he says. In addition to regular hours, the centre provides help when people are most likely to need it – on nights, weekends and holidays – when hospitals may be full, he says.
Sarnia Sings 2018 will be held on May 3. Tickets are $25. Visit Sarnia Sings on Facebook for more information.