United front

The 12th World Kindness Concert, Friday, Nov. 16 at The Centre in Vancouver For Performing Arts. Show: 8 p.m. Tickets $50 and info: mooncoinproductions.com/world-kindness-concert or speaker@brocktully.com.

THE members of a North Vancouver high school choir are among the talented crop of performers joining forces for an upcoming concert issuing a call for a kinder world.

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The Argyle secondary concert choir will be taking the stage, along with acclaimed artists Bill Henderson, John Mann, Valdy, Shari Ulrich, Marcus Mosely and a host of others at the 12th annual World Kindness Concert, being held at The Centre in Vancouver For Performing Arts, Nov. 16. More than a night of entertainment, the show is intended to celebrate and promote the importance of compassion, love and peace and to allow those in attendance to be part of the solution in eliminating violence, bullying, suicide, cruelty and environmental abuses. Funds raised also support a number of youth-focused educational programs working to promote and inspire kind and positive action towards oneself, others and the planet.

The World Kindness Concert was founded by West Vancouver native Brock Tully. Currently a Vancouver resident, Tully co-founded the Kindness Foundation of Canada, is an inspirational speaker and author, and has undertaken three fundraising bike trips across North America to further his message. For decades, Tully has worked to encourage community members to be more compassionate.

"We need to get to the heart of our people. We need to bring up kids to be the best they can rather than to be better than - and to think what's better for the higher good of all," he says. "We're always trying to get that mark or that trophy to make us happy but it's the journey that I've found that makes us happy and that we're in it together and that we create community. . . . It really comes down to simple acts of kindness. It's really about just being kind to each other."

Tully endeavours to empower people to be proud of who they are, think for themselves and from their heart rather than their head. "When we're connected to our heart then we see that we all have the same feelings, we all have the same fears, we all have the same needs and things like colour and age and style, those things all slip away and we just see each other's beautiful hearts," he says.

Tully founded the World Kindness Concert in 2000 and over the years it has supported a variety of programs and organizations, including the Kindness Foundation of Canada, which it still supports today. Funds raised from this year's edition will support the foundation's Kindness Counts at School Toolkits program, a resource for affecting positive change at school and home. Other programs being supported through this year's concert include Kindness ROCKS, Roots of Empathy and Kindness Heals.

The World Kindness Concert has grown to be a major production, thanks to the performers and volunteers, as well as Moon Coin Productions' Jonas Falle and Jeanette O'Keeffe, who've served as producers for the last two years.

Argyle secondary's concert choir, composed of 48 Grade 11 and 12 students, will be performing in the concert for the second time this year. Tully asked them to come on board after watching them sing at a fundraiser for South African education initiatives at Kay Meek Centre last year.

"The whole message that (Tully) has about creating a kinder world and the whole anti-bullying message has been something that has been so prevalent at Argyle school this fall so it really has lots of connections and different levels of understanding for our students to be involved in something like this," says Argyle choir teacher Frances Roberts.

Her students will perform African songs that relate to the concert's theme.

"The pieces we're singing this year go through a story of a mother teaching her child to be respectful and to be responsible," says Roberts. "It moves into a piece of music that sings about spreading the good news and then ends with a prayer-like African song that sings about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Examples of other performers featured at Friday's concert include Bill Sample, Michaela Slinger, Bobby Bruce, Michael Vincent, Leora Cashe, Adam Lucas, Sawagi Taiko, Andreas Schuld, Rene Worst and Cole Armour, a 13-year-old from Langley who was recently featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Tully is also pleased that members of Amanda Todd's family will be in attendance in a show of support for the concert's message. "For people that are concerned about the bullying and the violence and everything, this is where they can come and really show that they care to make a difference," says Tully. "Because a lot of times we complain or we talk about the bullying, but this is how they can come and be a part of the solution."

Those interested in attending though without the financial means to do so are encouraged to contact Tully as he aims to make the event accessible to all.


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