Canadian Pacific Rail staff made their lists and checked them twice before heading out on the 2012 Holiday Train program to raise money and awareness of hunger in Canada.
Again this year, the Canadian train will visit some 77 communities, a journey that began in Beaconsfield, Quebec.
The beautifully decorated train will roll to a stop at Salmon Arm’s Lordco parking lot at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 with a full slate of entertainment and a cheque for the local food bank.
But don’t wait until then.
Dress warmly and head downtown at 5:30 to enjoy seasonal music, while treating the family to a hotdog and hot chocolate near a cosy fire, supervised again this year by the Salmon Arm Fire Department.
Enjoy the lively entertainment provided by country band Doc Walker, singing powerhouse Miss Emily and the younger talent of the Brothers Dube.
Over their decade-plus time together the Doc Walker band has earned the title of “‘the hardest-working country band in Canada” – the old fashioned way, through relentless perseverance, constantly honing their chops as a songwriting and a performing unit.
While that perseverance has netted them multiple top-10 and top-5 hits on Canadian Radio and some of the Canadian Music Industry’s highest awards, including six CCMAs in 2008 alone, as well as the 2009 Juno for Country Recording of the Year for their Beautiful Life record, the real payoff for Doc Walker isn’t the awards and accolades that come with their growing success.
If anything, it’s more accurately measured in a mutual dedication to each other, and to their audience.
Kingston, Ont. native Miss Emily is one of the best kept secrets in the music business.
With Adele-esque soul and power, Miss Emily delivers jaw-dropping vocals.
Recent shows include Ottawa Bluesfest and Bobcaygeon Big Music Fest where she shared the stage with The Tragically Hip, Sam Roberts Band and the Trews in front of 25,000 people.
Miss Emily has begun work on her first CD with producing contributions by The Tragically Hip’s, Gord Sinclair.
“There is an artist you should know about: Miss Emily, I have a feeling about her like I haven’t had about a new artist in a long time,” says Matt Wells of Much Music.
Gene Simmons of KISS also waxes poetical.
“Miss Emily, has the best pipes we have ever heard in an unsigned artist,” he said.
Their sixth record, GO, produced three top-ten singles for the Brothers Dube – including the hit I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, which peaked at number 4 on the BDS country chart and reached number 1 on the Chevrolet Top- 20 Video Countdown.
Even though the Brothers Dube are young, they are talented and devoted beyond their years. Liam, Jan, and Quinn have rocked the charity world by busking and raising over $100,000 for Haiti Relief, breast cancer research, and children’s organizations who have benefited from the efforts of these fine youngsters.
They’ve shared bills with Sean Paul and Kymani Marley and performed live with artists such as Arcade Fire, Hollerado, and on the Holiday Train with The Odds.
The Brothers Dube got their start in music in Ottawa, Canada in 2006 at the ages of six, eight and 10 after posting covers of their mother’s favourite songs on YouTube as a means of keeping her spirits up while she fought cancer.
Shortly after her death, they began fundraising.
Recipients of the prestigious CAYFO award for their contribution to arts and culture, they continue to inspire other kids to make a change in their communities.
Their influences include Pink Floyd, U2, Rush, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Black Sabbath and Metallica.
Since 1999, the CP Rail Holiday Train program has raised close to $6.4 million and about 2.6 million pounds of food for food banks in Canada and the United States.
With families continuing to turn to food banks, the need is always present. In Salmon Arm the need has increased substantially.
Salvation Army community outreach co-ordinator Dave Byers is hoping the community will step up to the plate again this year.
“If that stays on track, we’ll be filling about 600 Christmas hampers this year.”
Byers says his biggest need at the moment is protein – fresh or frozen meat, especially ground beef to go in the regular hampers which are given out twice a week.
Other protein items are tuna fish, salmon, peanut butter and canned hams.
Other items on Byers’ wish list are pasta, pasta sauce and canned fruit and vegetables.
Items such as infant formula, canned meats, and spaghetti sauce are also in demand.
Another option is to contribute $25 to purchase a turkey.
Each Holiday Train has 14 brightly decorated rail cars, including a modified box car that has been turned into a traveling stage for performers. They are each decorated with hundreds of thousands of technology-leading LED Christmas lights.
The CP Rail Holiday train will also be making stops in Sicamous at 4:30 p.m. at the northwest corner of Highway 1 at Silver Sand Road and in Notch Hill at 8:15 p.m. at the Davies Road crossing.