JD Edwards (David Lewis)
Choose Your Charity" serves to promote and grow the local music scene but also to encourage each and every one of us to use our talents and abilities to help others. I believe it's our responsibility as citizens to pay it forward."
—James Struthers, Winnipeg singer songwriter
It's music with a charitable twist. JD Edwards kicks off a brand new
music series of eight concerts on January 26 at the Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipeg singer songwriter James Struthers is the organizer behind the series he calls Choose Your Charity. James says he found his inspiration at We Day at the MTS Centre a few months ago. "I was blown away by the network of inspired philanthropists that has become the Free The Children organization. They not only serve to promote and raise funds for FTC, but they support and promote the giving initiatives of others. There's no competition, only a large group of individuals hungry for change and passionate about making their a difference. That's what Choose Your Charity is all about."
Tell us about a time when you received the generosity of someone that made a difference to you?
In 2008 I released an album called JD Edwards Live at the Gas Station Theatre. It has helped me move forward in my career by leaps and bounds. I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for my friend Dennis. He heard me sing in 2006 at a cafe downtown and since then had this idea to record a live show of my songs and "help me on my musical journey", as he put it. The idea floated around for a couple of years before we could go ahead with it and start planning. I had written a handful of new songs and together with some old ones had an album worthy of the project. We found a place for the concert, a producer/engineer,
a sound man and some musicians. Took band photos, designed the cover art, hired someone to make a concert poster and tickets and had a website built. Promoted the show and bingo bango bongo we had brand new shiny record and he paid for pretty much everything. I have been trying to pay him back ever since.
Tell us about a time where you gave to someone that made a difference in their lives?
Every Christmas when I was a teenager my parents and I would travel to St. Catharines, Ontario to visit with my Dad's side of the family. We would have to rent out my grandma's church just to hold everybody under one roof. Dad came from ten kids and there must have been 40 odd grand kids always running around the gymnasium as the we ate the family Christmas lunch. After lunch the kitchen was cleaned, the young kids were carted back to their respective homes each with a present from Grandma and my folks and I would head to her house for the evening. We gathered our carol books and me with my guitar would drive over to the hospital where we would roam the hallways and sing for the patients who had to stay over the holidays. It always brought smiles and an uplifting spirit to the people in the hospital when we stopped at their door and sang. Sharing our voices and our songs always seemed to mean so much to these people.
Why do you want to support the charity Manitoba Mutts?
I support Manitoba Mutts because of their determination to help any and all dogs in need. The good folks involved in this organization will band together and road trip to far off destinations just to free one dog from a run down puppy mill or raise thousands of dollars to help a dog who is in need of life saving surgery.
My wife and I are proud owners of two beautiful mutts or Heinz 57's as I like to call them, and have fostered one of them and rescued the other. We encourage people who are looking into getting a pup for the first time or folks who have been living with dogs their whole lives, to visit Manitoba Mutts website and to get involved. It's an awesome charity doing awesome work in our community.
Other artists in the series include Katie Murphy, Keri Latimer, Don Amero, Flo, Thrift Store Love, Hayley Gene and James Struthers.