From the gala to the green, the eighth annual Gord Bamford Golf Classic was a success, setting a new fundraising record, officials said.
The two-day fundraiser event was held in part at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer on Aug. 12th followed by a round of golf at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club on Aug. 13th.
Last Wednesday night at the gala, Beverly Mahood, Jess Moskaluke and Bamford took to the stage to entertain the 800 attendees.
Guests were also surprised by a performance by Grand Ole Opry member and county music legend Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives. The group of Nashville songwriters, featuring Buddy Owens, Galen Griffen, Monty Holmes and Duane Steele performed, sharing many country music stories.
Several big ticket items were auctioned off by co-MC and celebrity auctioneer Danny Hooper, including 17 celebrities and athletes like Theo Fleury, Curtis Glencross and Davey Shields Jr., who would join golf teams the following day.
The Molson Canadian Beer Fridge was also a feature at the gala. Attendees could sing the Canadian National Anthem to the bright red fridge, earning themselves a beer in true Canadian fashion.
This year’s fundraising efforts were channeled towards a featured charity, MusiCounts, a Canadian music education organization that is the charitable-arm of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS).
President and CEO of CARAS, the Juno Awards and MusiCounts Allan Reid said the charity has been operating in Canada for two decades.
“From the last 18 years we’ve awarded over $8 million worth of instruments to school music programs literally from St. Johns, Newfoundland to Victoria, to the far north,” said Reid. “We get applications from every province and territory.”
Last year the program awarded $60,000 worth of instruments to schools across Canada. The organization works to keep music alive in schools, ensuring all students, no matter their background or socio-economic circumstances, have access to a music program in their school.
MusiCounts began working with Bamford two years ago, in which Bamford contributed $100,000 to the organization, the largest single contribution from an artist in its history.
Reid said he attended the Golf Classic last year and was amazed to see Bamford raise so much money towards such deserving organizations. “We’ve been working with Gord and he sponsored our Teacher of the Year Award through MusiCounts, which we did in Winnipeg at the Juno Awards 2014,” he said.
Bamford also helps fund the program called ‘Band Aid’, which supplies schools which have applied with a $5,000 to $10,000 grant towards purchasing instruments for their school music programs.
Reid said unfortunately music and music education is often one of the first things cut from a school budget.
“We believe, as do a lot of our supporters, that music education should not be seen as a thread,” he said. “It should be a foundational part of a child’s education.”
The ‘Band Aid’ program kicks off next month, opening up the application process to schools across Canada for the next two months. Schools are encouraged to apply at www.MusiCounts.ca.
On the morning of the tournament, the sunny skies opened up and welcomed golfers to the Lacombe Golf and Country Club.
Each golfer was gifted with a new pair of shoes in preparation for hitting the links.
Bamford arrived early to his hometown course, a place where he would like to continue to host the Golf Classic for many years to come, keeping the fundraiser in Central Alberta.
“The course looks like it’s in great shape,” he said. “It’s good to be back here. Lacombe is a big part of who I am obviously.” Bamford’s roots are deeply planted in the City, although he now calls Nashville home.
“It’s something that is very important to me,” he said of his foundation and fundraising efforts. “When you get to a certain point in your career to have the opportunity to give back, it’s very important. We have a great group of people to get behind and committees doing fantastic work. We’ve been able to give out a lot of money to great organizations across Canada and it really makes you feel good to do that.”
This year Bamford set a new fundraising total, raising $508,350 over the two days. Topping off the total was one single auction item, a luxury vacation to Italy, that went for $45,000 at the gala.
Funds raised during the event go towards the Gord Bamford Charitable Foundation, which are then dispersed to a variety of children and youth charities like KidSport Alberta and Ronald McDonald Central Alberta charities.