HALOS brings a bit of vegas to the North

By Lindsay Ducharme

A group of local women are ready to go to “battle” for Kids Forever…a musical battle, that is. HALOS, a new society dedicated to identifying needs and helping the community across charities, events and activities, will be hosting their inaugural event, Ebony and Ivory Dueling Pianos Las Vegas Style, September 20th at the Syncrude Sports and Wellness Centre.

“HALOS stand for Helping Assist Local Organizations Society. We wanted to make a difference in a way that was organic,” explained HALOS vice president Linda Bucke.

“The thing that’s unique about HALOS is we are not stuck with one particular organization to support, or one event that we do year after year. We have the flexibility that can choose an organization that needs our support and then choose an event or activity that we think the community will respond to in a positive way. The thing that makes it organic is, as we change our focus for support new people with fresh ideas come on board,” she continued.

HALOS is composed completely of local women, including Bucke, Debbie Hahn, Tita Cool, Ottlie Munro, Lorna Simpson, Cindy Brown and Pam Burns, focused on making a difference within the community.

“All of us have been very fortunate and blessed to live in Fort McMurray. We’ve all done very well here. We all have incredible family and friend support systems here and we really care about our community and we want to give back to the people within the region,” Bucke said.

“Even though there is a lot of money in Fort McMurray, a lot of the smaller non-profits don’t get enough money to support their organization. For instance, the Food Bank, halfway through the year their shelves were empty. Even though it’s a rich community, there’s so many people in need because not everybody is making the six figure dollars,” echoed Hahn.

This year the group has decided to focus their efforts on helping Kids Forever, a local organization that has had a vast impact not only on children in the region and across the province, but also on HALOS president Hahn.

“Kids Forever has been really inspired me. John Foy started it pretty much on his own and then got his friends involved. For 14 years they have put on fabulous events, they’ve kept them affordable so people can go enjoy them, but more importantly they’ve helped a lot of children. They started out in Fort McMurray, helping all the kids there that are sick, that need medication, that need perhaps apparatus to survive. They ended up bringing in so much money they’ve kind of expanded Alberta wide to help more kids,” Hahn said.

“This is our way of kind of taking over and giving back to the community. They have a million dollar goal this year, we just want to help them reach their goal,” she added.

In their efforts to help the group reach it’s goal, HALOS decided to create an unique event unlike anything Fort McMurray has ever seen. With many Wood Buffalo residents travelling south to Las Vegas, the group decided to bring a bit of Vegas to the north.

“I think everybody who has gone to Vegas has been to a dueling piano bar. We thought it would be a lot of fun and something different for Fort McMurray. We managed to secure two of the top dueling piano players in Vegas to come to our event,” Hahn said.

“This event is open to everybody, it’s an affordable, fun night. For $100 you can come out have fantastic entertainment, great food, a couple drinks, and dance all night. The piano players have repertoires of thousands of songs. It’s going to be a unique and fun event,” added Bucke.

In addition to the music itself, there will also be scarf sales and a raffle with a top prize of a trip to Las Vegas. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised through the event, including all tips received by the pianists, will go directly towards Kids Forever.

Ebony and Ivory Dueling Pianos Las Vegas Style will take place on September 20th at the Syncrude Sports and Wellness Centre. Tickets are available now at a cost of $100 directly through the HALOS website halosfm.com. Local non-profit organizations interested in partnering with HALOS in the future are encouraged to fill out an application on their website.