Friendship, Music and Community celebrated at Van Morrison Tribute

Community and arts leader Chris Thornley presented a cheque for $500 to Sources CEO David Young on May 21 following a successful Tribute to Van Morrison event – a highlight of White Rock’s Irish Festival.

The sold-out musical evening was hosted by Semiahmoo Arts at the Turnbull Gallery in the South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre on March 21. Partial proceeds were donated in support of Sources’ homeless prevention programs.

“This was our second year putting on this special event,” Chris said. “After the event, a number of people came up to me and shared their Van Morrison stories. They said, ‘I saw him here’ or ‘This song meant a lot to me,’ and I thought that was pretty cool.”

The evening included some talk about Van Morrison’s poetry, history and, of course, the performance of his music in two sets: an acoustic set played by Dennis Pook, Ray Fines, Jim De Kleer and Chris Thornley; and an electric set featuring blues band Agent C and Top Secret members Bill Kudenchuk, Brian Linnet, Dave Gilbert, Rod Janes, Jim De Kleer, Chris Thornley and Angela Clarke. One of them played with Van Morrison when he was a kid, and another did sound for the famous musician when he was touring.

“We actually learned a bunch of old Van Morrison tunes including ‘Here Comes the Night,’ ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ and ‘Gloria,’ all the way up to some of his newer material,” said Chris. The band performs mainly in Surrey and has been putting on gigs for eight years. More than bandmates, they’re friends.

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“Quite frankly, I enjoy playing music with my friends so much that the high point of the evening was just the opportunity to play the music that I love, with the people that I love, for an organization that I love.”

The musicians were offered an honorarium to perform and all of them donated it back to be included in the cheque to Sources.

“I think it’s important to give back to your community and it’s a very easy thing to do. It’s actually really easy to be nice. It’s even easier to be kind. I really feel that we’re blessed because we get to do something that we really love doing and for a good cause,” Chris said. “One of the things we wanted to do was to support Sources.”

Thank You to Chris, all his musician friends and the community members who came out to show their support!

Chris Thornley is President of Thornley Creative Communications. He has been honoured on multiple occasions for his commitment to his community, including being the recipient of a City of Surrey Community Leader Award and being named a Surrey Civic Treasure in Arts, Heritage and Culture.