A memorial concert for Rita MacNeil planned for Monday night is expected to draw a full house at Sydney’s Centre 200.
About 5,000 tickets have been sold for Monday’s concert set to begin at 7:30 p.m. AT.
For anyone who can’t attend the concert in person, there are plans to stream the event online at www.ritamacneil.com. There will also be a link on the stream for people to donate to the scholarship fund in MacNeil’s name
The acclaimed Cape Breton singer/songwriter died unexpectedly last month following complications from surgery after a recurring infection. She was 68.
Joella Foulds, MacNeil’s long-time friend and colleague, is one of the organizers of the event.
"I think Rita touched hearts all over this country and beyond and so many people felt close to her, even if she didn't actually know them, because her songs touched them in a very personal way," she said.
Foulds said people want and need a chance to say their goodbyes.
The ticket price was kept low — just $10 — to keep the concert accessible to all.
As for the musical lineup set to perform, Foulds is keeping that under wraps.
"I can tell you there will be a lot of performers, but I am not going to tell you any names, because we said from the beginning that, in Rita's words, that was 'part of the mystery,'" she said.
Foulds said the show is about MacNeil, not about who is on stage.
"It’s about all of us paying tribute to her, and so it doesn't really matter who's on that stage," she said. "You can be sure that because she has such an amazing career and has worked with so many great people that there will be lots of wonderful performances, but people are not coming to be recognized for themselves. They are coming to honour Rita."
Proceeds from the "Home I'll Be: Remembering Rita" concert will go toward a scholarship in her name. The scholarship will benefit Cape Breton University’s newly announced Bachelor of Arts in community studies, four-year music major.For anyone who can’t attend the concert in person, there are plans to stream the event online at www.ritamacneil.com. There will also be a link on the stream for people to donate to the scholarship fund in MacNeil’s name