A chilling performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” kicked off a benefit concert Saturday night during the Taste of the Danforth Festival.
“When I was trying to figure out what to sing tonight, I realized a lot of my songs are pretty negative,” joked City and Colours Dallas Green. “I was trying to think of a song of mine that would bring positive vibes.”
Green was just one of a handful of artists who took part in the concert at the Danforth Music Hall in support of the Toronto Strong Fund to help those affected by the tragic shooting that happened on that street just weeks prior.
The event was orchestrated by Billy Talent with many of the acts saying lead singer Ben Kowalewicz actually reached out to them via text to see if they were available for the special night.
And it was a night full of surprises.
The first surprise was Finger Eleven followed by another surprise performer Hayden who was joined on stage by Kowalewicz for a song.
Kowalewicz, for those who couldn’t see the side stage, was watching every performer with members of Billy Talent with the brightest smile across his face. It was the smile of a man who helped bring some healing to the community through music.
Other surprise performers included Maestro Fresh Wes and Serena Ryder, who also performed a song with Billy Talent.
But, the one surprise of the night that had most of the audience in tears was that of Ken Price.
Ken’s daughter Sam was shot when her and her friends were getting gelato on the Danforth that night.
He described the moment he got the phone call from what he thought was his daughter, but was actually a stranger letting him know she had been shot.
His daughter was in the audience. Price said she is going to be fine and will be going to college this fall.
Billy Talented ended the night with Kowalewicz thanking the audience. “I don’t know where to begin but it begins and ends with you. We couldn’t have dreamt or imagined how the commuting mobilized and embraced this was truly inspiring. Thank you, just thank you.”