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Remembering Rita MacNeil: Memorial Concert Tonight In Sydney, Nova Scotia
May 6, 2013
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The life and career of Rita MacNeil will be celebrated tonight with a memorial concert in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

The concert, entitled "Home I'll Be: Remembering Rita", is being held at Sydney's Centre 200 and is expected to be sold out. About 5,000 tickets have already been sold for just $10 each, so people of all income levels could be a part of it.

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.

In a nice touch, organizers are keeping tonight's musical lineup a secret - saying the show is about MacNeil, not who's on the bill.

"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,'" Foulds said. "It's about all of us paying tribute to her, and so it doesn't really matter who's on that stage."

"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."

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Atlantic Time, with proceeds going to a scholarship fund in MacNeil's name. The show will also be streamed online at with a link for people to donate to the scholarship.

It will benefit Cape Breton University's new Bachelor of Arts Community Studies Music Major 4-year program.

MacNeil, who was known as Cape Breton's First Lady of Song, died unexpectedly last month after complications from surgery after a recurring infection. She was 68.

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