BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Breakout country artist and Central Alberta local Jamie Woodfin led a successful fundraising campaign during a recent performance at Father Lacombe School.
Together, with teachers and students at the school, he raised a little over $2,000 for Dreams Take Flight and the Ronald McDonald House of Central Alberta.
Woodfin is participating as one of 12 competitors in the Project WILD competition presented by Calgary radio station WILD 95.3.
As part of the competition, contestants are given tasks that help them develop as artists and community members – one of the tasks being to organize some kind of charity-partner event.
Woodfin jumped at the opportunity, excited as ever to perform but more excited to make a difference in the community.
“One of the assignments we were handed was to pair up with a charity of our choice and see what kind of impact we could make within a community. They told us that the focus was not necessarily on how much money was raised, but more about how we were impacted and affected. It was really more about what we as artists got from doing that challenge,” Woodfin said.
“I’ve watched what Gord Bamford has done in terms of raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters and other community groups. I thought, how could I do this myself?. I know I’m still a small fish in the pond but I wanted to consider creating a charity as well. I found this event to be kind of a kick-start to doing that.”
He said he was thrilled with how the event went over, and is looking to build up more community outreach opportunities in the future, with schools and other local organizations – especially in smaller communities.
Born and raised in Ponoka, Woodfin says he has a special place in his heart for rural communities. He now resides in Red Deer, but says it’s important to create opportunities to reach out to smaller towns as well as big cities.
“I would love to do a small-town tour to create opportunities for entertainment that sometimes towns don’t get to see because of their size. If we’re able to get out and do our music for people and create an interest for people to hear more of us, all the better,” he said with a laugh.
Woodfin has been gaining momentum in his career over the last couple of years, with little signs of slowing down. To date, he has released a number of singles, including Letting Me Go (2016) and Just Feels Right and We Go Together in 2015.
Last year, he also released a self-titled EP before travelling to Nashville, and attended the Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMAs) in September, where he was nominated for two awards – Fan’s Choice and Male Artist of the Year.
He said he’s been excited – if sometimes overwhelmed – at seeing his progress.
“There is a mix of a lot of different feelings. Certainly, there are times when your workload gets pretty full, but that’s not a bad thing. I think you want to be put in circumstances – at least I certainly do – where it’s not always easy. That way, you can be challenged. That’s the only way to grow,” he said.
“As musicians, we are all kind of half-crazy to be chasing something that doesn’t often pan out. Sometimes it can be discouraging to say the least. On the other hand, when you have a fun show or an idea that comes together well, it reminds you of exactly why you wanted to be doing it.”
He said the experiences of Project WILD, including his recent performance at Father Lacombe School, have been part of a wild ride of development that comes when one chases their dreams. He added that all the craziness and fluster is worth the effort, as long as he’s able to connect with people.
“To me, the best thing about performing is being able to connect to people,” Woodfin said.
“I think the most enjoyment I get from anything to do with music is seeing how it can directly affect a person. If someone comes up to you at the end of the show, telling you there was something they really related too or that helped them with something they’re going through, that’s a great feeling to have, and it happens here and there,” he said.
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