Charity

Fight! Red Carpet Rumble for Unison Benevolent Fund

On Thursday night in Toronto, 20 tough as nails music industry professionals stepped into the ring to square off in support of the Unison Benevolent Fund.

Red Carpet Rumble (hosted by Fearless Fred of 102.1 The Edge), saw music industry men and women, (trained, taught and ready to rumble), came to The Concert Hall at the Masonic Temple and put on a show that helped raise money for the industry charity, and awareness for the need of its services.

With industry professionals, friends and fight fans in attendance, the fighters gave it their all when their names were called, throwing punches, protecting their heads, and showing all of the sportsmanship that Canadians are known for in gracious victory and unfortunate defeat.

The entire evening was a success, not only because of the fights, but because the monies raised through ticket sales, donations, and participant fundraising all went to the Unison Benevolent Fund to support the important work they do.

“The Unison Benevolent Fund is an assistance program – created and administered for the music community, by the music community – designed to provide discreet relief to music industry professionals in times of crisis. There are two distinct types of support available through the fund, Financial Assistance and Counselling & Health Solutions.” – unisonfund.ca

Related: The Unison Jam at CMW 2015!

As supporters and fans of the Canadian music industry and the people involved (from centre stage to the behind-the-scenes heroes) we are proud that we have had the chance to support the Unison Benevolent Fund over the last few years – and we hope that we will continue to have those opportunities in the future.

Red Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Kofi Saprong and Fabio Gallo

The physical and mental health needs of people working in the music industry are the same as any one of us working outside of it, however, nearly half of these professionals do not have any form of health insurance, and the reality of the industry can be found in one famous saying… “the show must go on”.

And while we applaud every artist, manager, roadie, stage manager, etc. that has worked through any kind of pain – we must all recognize that they need to have access and support when needed.

To help support the Unison Benevolent Fund, CLICK HERE and make a donation, or share the page to your friends and family to spread the word of their mission.

Red Carpet Rumble, Music Edition – Fight Card

🥊 Cole Smith vs. Nadia Elkharadly

🥊 Kat Burns vs. Terra Lynn-Snape

🥊 Nalae Yang vs. Nicole Brewer

🥊 Jim Cressman vs. Brian Hoyland

🥊 Mark Russell vs. Mark Prospero

🥊 Jason Furman vs. Taiwo Bah

🥊 Paola Palazzo vs. Penny Leimbrock

🥊 Michael Quach vs. Bryon Roby

🥊 Zaheer Bhinder vs. Marlon Pacheco

🥊 Kofi Saprong vs. Fabio Gallo

Red Carpet Rumble, Music Edition – Photos!

Red Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Cole Smith and Fearless Fred Red Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event -Cole SmithRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event Red Carpet Rumble - Unison Charity Event - Nadia Elkharadly and Cole Smith Red Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Nadia Elkharadly and Cole Smith Red Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event Red Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Jim Cressman and Brian Hoyland Red Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Jim Cressman and Brian Hoyland Red Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Jim Cressman and Brian Hoyland Red Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Jim Cressman and Brian Hoyland Red Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Jim Cressman and Brian Hoyland Red Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Jim Cressman and Brian Hoyland Red Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Jim Cressman and Brian HoylandRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Fabio GalloRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Kofi Saprong and Fabio GalloRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Kofi Saprong and Fabio GalloRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Kofi Saprong and Fabio GalloRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet RumbleRed Carpet RumbleRed Carpet RumbleRed Carpet RumbleRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event -Jason FurmanRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event -Jason FurmanRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event -Jason Furman and Taiwo BahRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event -Jason Furman and Taiwo BahRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity EventRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Fearless FredRed Carpet Rumble - Unison Fund Charity Event - Fearless FredRed Carpet Rumble - Skratch Bastid

2 months ago Views

Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto 2016 #MoChaKaTO

On Thursday, November 17 we are proud to help host Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto with The Moustache Growers Union Local 416647.

Since 2010, in support of Movember and men’s health initiatives, Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto has been a super fun event that has raised thousands of dollars for a great cause. And this year isn’t going to be any different.

pennys-bar-to-logoAt Penny’s (1306 Bloor Street West, Toronto) from 9pm to 2am there will be singing and drinking and prizes and surprises.

If you don’t know how Challenge Karaoke works, it’s like this.

A one-time donation of $5 enters you into the karaoke rotation to sing!

A $20 donation can be made to challenge a singer to perform the song of your choice!

A $30 donation can be made by a singer to reject a challenge!

A $50 donation can be made to challenge a singer to perform a song from Jason Rolland’s banned list. The same $50 donation can be made by a singer to perform a banned song without a challenge.

A $100 donation can be made to challenge a singer to perform a song by Celine Dion. The same $100 donation can be made by a singer to perform Celine without a challenge.

Raffle tickets will also be sold, and random donations of any denomination are welcome!

Prizes to be won at Movember Challenge Karaoke include…

wayhome-for-the-holidays-2016 2 tickets to WayHome for the Holidays (Wednesday, November 23 at The Phoenix, Toronto) featuring performances by Darcys, Bear Mountain, and The Beaches. PLUS, some Darcys vinyl, all donated by our friends at Republic Live.

2 autographed CD prize packs from Warner Music Canada featuring Ed Sheeran, Echosmith, and Jess Glynne.

A 1yr jam subscription from Penny Candy Jam and our friends at Penelope PR.

A music swag prize pack from our pals at MDM Recordings.

2 tickets to see the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Collesium, donated by Mo Bro and event co-host Sean Boulton.

The chance to join Moustache Growers Union Local 416647 members and friends in a private box to watch the Toronto Marlies

left-field-brewery-logo A Left Field Brewery prize basket

Gift Certificates from Mazz Salon

A sweet cooler with built in radio

As well as assorted other prizes including karaoke jumper cards, moustache themed goodies, and more.

There will also be online auction items available, including…

boots-and-hearts-2017-plaid-thumb 2 tickets to Boots & Hearts 2017, donated by our friends at Republic Live.

An autographed print of The Road Hammers created by Scotty Kipfer, donated by our friends at Penelope PR.

And more!

NOW, if you have anything that you would like to donate for raffle prizes or online auction, please feel free to let me know!

And, if you can’t make it to Penny’s on Thursday, November 17th between 9pm and 2am – you can click right here to visit our Movember profile and make a donation for a great cause.

If you are planning to come and you want to sing, come early… it’s going to be busy and awesome!

Thank you to all of the Mo Bros and Mo Sistas and our supporters all around the world for being part of such a great initiative.

1 year ago Views

GTA Music City: Musicounts at The Phoenix Concert Theatre

Thursday night we joined Canadian music fans and supporters at The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto in support of MusiCounts.

Musicounts 2016With a great lineup of Canadian talent on stage, nobody in the audience was disappointed with what they heard, or why they showed up on a less than stellar winter weather night. There was singing and dancing and laughter as the night went on, and we are very glad that we were there to take it all in.

MusiCounts does great work bringing music to schools and communities where it’s needed most. Their belief that music can be used as a tool to benefit children of all ages and abilities is one we share… it’s why we ran our TILT fundraising campaign in 2015, why we were happy to be at The Phoenix on Thursday, and why we’ll continue to support one of our favourite Canadian charities.

The night of music kicked off with a drumline performance by the 5 dudes of Hitmen Drumline… they played their way into the theatre, marched and danced and played all over the space, and then played their way out again after an impressive performance of speed and rhythm.

And then, after a few words from the evening’s hosts Steve Anthony (CP24) and Talia Schlanger (CBC Radio 2), the stage got its first action when, Juno nominated, God Made Me Funky plugged in and started a party.

Leah Daniels God Made Me Funky Musicounts 2016Accompanied by our pal Leah Daniels, God Made Me Funky put the audience through their paces with uptempo covers of Uptown Funk, Forget You, Get Lucky, Twist & Shout, Shake It Off, and more. The 8 people on stage made for a full and deep sound that was a lot of fun and filled the room.

Lee Aaron Musicounts 2016And in a trend that would continue throughout the night, God Made Me Funky invited 2 special guests to share the stage before they left. 1st, Simone Denny of Love Inc. came up to grab a microphone and belted out 90’s hit Broken Bones to the delight of all of us old enough to remember dancing to it… and then 80’s rocker Lee Aaron jumped in to take over and gave us all a punch with an awesome rendition of her 1989 hit Watcha Do To My Body!

After a quick break to look around at the silent auction items (guitar signed by Blue Rodeo, WayHome VIP pack, Arts & Crafts package, Nick Jonas/Demi Lovato tickets, etc.) the music continued when The Elwins started playing for us.

The Elwins 2 Musicounts 2016The boys joked and sang and played their hearts out to a crowd that had started to find their groove, and tracks like It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over, Bringing Out The Shoulders, and their cover of Beyonce’s Countdown (complete with crowd participation) made sure that nobody was sitting quietly on their hands, but truly involved in a live music event.

Finishing the night on stage, with more surprises, was Bucket List. This group of accomplished session musicians filled the stage, with no fewer than 10 people on stage at any given time they had a Broken Social Scene feel as new members stepped into lead singing roles, picked up new instruments, and went with the flow of the set.

They kicked off their set with Bowie’s Let’s Dance, added Springsteen’s Born To Run, and kept the good times going from there.

Joey Landreth with Bucket List Musicounts 2016Special guest #1 popped up early as Joey Landreth, from The Bros. Landreth grabbed a guitar and microphone and wailed without so much as a warm up. If you aren’t familiar with The Bros. Landreth yet, you’re missing out… get on that when you’re done here.

Special guest #2 came up a short time later… after we got to hear Listen To The Music and Take It Easy… MusiCounts Director, Vanessa Thomas wowed the crowd with Pat Benatar’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot! It’s always cool when people who run organizations are into the product, and that performance showed us that Vanessa is into music.

John Tory The Hockey Song Musicounts 2016Special guest #3 was none other that Mayor John Tory who took on the role of Stompin’ John to help with Canadian classic, The Hockey Song. The mayor didn’t seem to do a lot of singing… but he was happy to be up there, especially since he was also sharing the stage with his son Chris, who was in the band.

Special guest #4 was co-host Talia Schlanger, and she knows what she’s doing when it’s time to sing, so nobody had a complaint to make at all! When Canadian talent gets together to celebrate music, you can hear the smiles in the sound, and that’s what happened when Talia sang.

All said, Thursday night was a great night for Canadian music and for MusiCounts. I don’t know how many dollars were raised, but each and every one of them (and more) belong with that charity as they continue to make a difference in the lives of children using the power of music.

Check them out online at musicounts.ca and keep being awesome!

Bucket List Let's Dance Musicounts 2016Vanessa Thomas Musicounts Director 2016God Made Me Funky Musicounts 2016 1The Elwins Musicounts 2016Simone Denny with God Made Me Funky Musicounts 2016

2 years ago Views

The Unison Jam at CMW 2015!

On Wednesday night, The Phoenix hosted a special night of fundraising and entertainment to the delight of Canadian music fans and Canadian musicians.

The Unison Jam brought together a bunch of great acts to play quick sets for the enthusiastic crowd, and to explain why they were all there.

The Unison Benevolent Fund is a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. We are here to help professional music makers in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties.

Through partnerships with Canada’s major record labels, industry supporters, and now the fans through Wednesday’s event, the fund is dedicated to helping Canadian musicians through tough times when they may not have anywhere else to turn. It’s a commendable goal with the opportunity to help a lot of people in need. I’m glad I was there to be a part of the Canadian Music Week party – and chip in a couple bucks.

I Mother Earth with Jason McCoy and Clayton Bellamy

I Mother Earth with Jason McCoy and Clayton Bellamy

note: Congratulations to whoever ended up winning some of the awesome silent auction prizes, particularly the trip to Dublin, Ireland.

The entertainment at The Phoenix was also a whole lot of fun on Wednesday with a list of performers that you won’t see together in 1 room very often…

The Unison Jam Performers

Canadian Red Maple Leaf

  • I Mother Earth
  • The Trews
  • Finger Eleven
  • Matthew Good
  • Kim Mitchell
  • Jason McCoy
  • Clayton Bellamy
  • Tom Wilson

Both Finger Eleven and Matthew Good took turns playing solo sets (with Finger Eleven debuting 2 new tracks from their soon to be released album).

 Wilson (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) MC’d the event, and sang us a song.

And everyone else teamed up in 1 combination or another to play some good old fashioned rock and roll.

Unison Jam Highlights Included…

and…

and…

Much love to The Phoenix for hosting the event, the performers for donating their time, and everyone who came and had fun and made donations.

Learn more about the Unison Benevolent Fund here: unisonfund.ca

I tried to take some pics… here ya go.

CMW 2015 Unison Jam Photos

Finger Eleven.

Finger Eleven.

Matthew Good.

Matthew Good.

I Mother Earth.

I Mother Earth.

Kim Mitchell with The Trews.

Kim Mitchell with The Trews.

I Mother Earth with Jason McCoy, Clayton Bellamy and Kim Mitchell.

I Mother Earth with Jason McCoy, Clayton Bellamy and Kim Mitchell.

The Trews with Kim Mitchell.

The Trews with Kim Mitchell.

3 years ago Views

What and Who Inspired Me in 2014

Sunrise Clouds InspirationAs 2014 comes closer to a close a lot of us will find ourselves looking back and thinking about the things that we saw and did over the last 12 months. For me that process always ends up including the people and events that inspired me in that time.

Last year at this time I wrote a post that including Ashley Gibson and her Life Is Sweet Project, Dave Grohl’s South by Southwest keynote, the passing of my Gramp, Movember and more… and so this year I would like to take a minute or two to share some of the things that inspired me in 2014.

Recently 2 ladies that I shared the halls with at Port Hope High School were diagnosed with significant and scary diseases that we are all hoping we can find a cure for.

Cherly HeycoopCheryl Heycoop has spent the last 10 years of her life working hard to help people… and now she needs some help of her own. Cheryl has been diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma and has recently started chemo treatments – everyone who knows her is sending their love and hoping for an effective and speedy recovery in her fight. You can read about Cheryl’s journey in her very brave blog here -> FullOfGrace.ca

Kimberlee Moran StopDropSeflieforMSIn the same time period Kimberlee Moran has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve known Kim for a long time, she is smart and caring and full of love and faith – and I know that she will give everything she has, not just in her own journey, but to everyone who has been touched by MS. Kim was a big part of the recent #StopDropSelfieForMS hashtag on Twitter and Instagram and is currently selling adorable prints that aim to inspire so she can facilitate the work needed to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. Check out her blog here -> InEverything.ca

The world is lucky to have these two beautiful young women in it, and it’s a better place because of them. I am inspired by their strength, courage, honesty and ability to be amazing people in the face of very difficult times. This is me sending all of my love, prayers and support to them.

Jason Rolland Celine Dion MoChaKaTO 20142014 was also inspiring in the month of November. For a 5th year I was lucky enough to work with some amazing people on a Movember campaign that raised over $3000 to help fight men’s cancers and mental illness. Our #MoChaKaTO karaoke fundraiser was fantastic once again. We auctioned off a foosball table, we raffled off great prizes, we sang songs and we surpassed any expectations that Sean and I had for the event. I was and continue to be inspired by the community of friends we have cultivated and their generosity and love.

Another charity movement inspired me in the summer of 2014 as the Ice Bucket Challenge tore through the internet. I’m super proud of all of my family members who participated and donated funds for research. My dad, step-mom, brother, cousins, cousin’s children – there were a whole bunch of us – and we did good! Whenever family can inspire, I am a happy boy.

TheReviewsAreIn Country Music Interviews 2014This year I also got to spend more time than ever talking to and writing about musicians and their music. Hearing them talk about their careers and lives and families and dreams inspired me to work even harder at this whole writing thing and push myself to create better content, come up with new ideas and attack 2015 even harder than I did 2014. Thanks to Brett Kissel, Tim Hicks, The Reklaws, and Trinity Bradshaw among others for playing a big part in my year. And another thank you goes out to the PR teams for all of these artists as well as the team behind Boots & Hearts (we love you Laura) for getting us in and giving us access that makes all of the work seem like play.

Life is no short supply of people who are doing amazing and inspiring things, all you have to do is let yourself see them and be drawn in. I am lucky to be surrounded by so many of them and to feel even just the slightest connection makes me feel both extremely lucky and capable of doing better in my own life.

Thank you to everyone out there in the world that continues to do amazing things. If you are working on a campaign for a charity you love or are connected to – or you are trying to raise awareness for a cause – or you want to share someone’s story — Please leave a comment with a link so I can check it out!

2014 has been an awesome and inspiring year – let’s do it again in 2015.

Be awesome!

3 years ago Views

Movember Journal 2014: Day 29 – The Final Wrap

Moustache Union Logo BannerMovember is ending… but don’t be sad. It’s been another great campaign for the Moustache Growers Union Local 416647 and all of the Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world.

This year The Union had 5 awesome members and I am proud to have been on the same side as my 4 teammates. Sean, Terri-Leigh, Mike and Michel are all top notch people and (with the exception of Terri-Leigh) grew killer ‘staches this month. I hope that they’re all back on board in 2015, along with old teammates and new ones alike.

This year marked the 5th Movember campaign that Sean and I have worked on together. It also brought us to our 5th Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto event on Thursday the 20th. We had an amazing night with friends and strangers and teammates – and raised a bunch of money. Here’s how the 5 years have broken down…

2010 – $500     2011 – $1116
2012 – $1680    2013 – $2200
2014 – $2030   Total – $7526

Tilt LogoThis year we did things a little differently and are super happy with the result. We need to thank Tilt Canada for their help in setting up the Jason Rolland sings Celine challenge campaign [click to watch the video] and all of the supporters. And we also thank The Marquis of Granby for donating the Guinness Foosball Table we auctioned off on Twitter last night – which was won by Tilt Canada for a bid of $240. We know it will look great in your new Toronto offices.

Switching gears, I would also like to thank everyone who donated to my campaign/ The Union this year at Movember.ca – you are all awesome and appreciated.

Mark Murray (thanks dad)
Scott Armstrong
Jess Johnston
Jason Chan
Amy Buckley
Gunite Construction & Renovations Inc.
Howard Johnston
Jessica Law
Meghan Warby
Michel Niray
and finally, my anonymous donor.

Right now The Union sits $50 short of $3000 for our 2014 campaign – and I can tell you that I am happy with that number and proud to be part of the whole darn thing.

If you would like to help us hit $3000 and more before Movember ends, click this link right here http://moteam.co/moustache-growers-union-local-416647 and give what you can.

Made In Movember ButtonBeing part of Movember is something that I look forward to and am proud of every year. The combination of men’s cancers and mental illness hit too many people each and every day in Canada, and if I can help stop that, if we can help stop that, we are doing good.

Thank you again to everyone who supports Movember through their participation, donations, and spreading the word through FB shares, RTs, email, word of mouth and smiles on the street.

You are all awesome.

Now where’s my razor?

3 years ago Views

Movember Journal 2014: Day 21 – #MoChaKaTO Recap

MoChaKaTO Feature 1Well, it happened… for the 5th year in a row our friends came out in support of a great cause, had a bunch of fun, and wowed me.

Last night’s Movember Challenge Karaoke event was always supposed to be smaller than last year, it had to be – the minute 2013’s event ended we all knew that it had reached a peak for size and participation and $$$. And I think that’s what makes last night so special to me. Because while my realistic expectations had been lowered, and I had told myself that half of what we raised last year would make me happy… something awesome happened.

Between donations to buy into the rotation, awesome challenges, banned songs, raffle tickets and our Tilt campaign (still open, make your donations if you’d like) we raised $1790 for Movember at #MoChaKaTO.

That $1790 brings our 5 year total to nearly $7300 and makes everyone involved (yup, I’m speaking for everyone) very proud.

Note: Check the bottom of the post for pics & the Jason Rolland singing Celine Dion video!

Here’s the part where I say my thank yous.

First, to my teammates Sean, Terri-Leigh, Mike and Michel – you’re all awesome! Thank you for being part of this thing with me again and I hope we’re all able to participate in 2015.

Next to Jason Rolland for hosting our karaoke fundraiser for the 5th year in a row and for being a good pal. And to Sean’s lovely wife Erin who has always helped us with raffle tickets, decorations and the general smooth running of #MoChaKaTO every year.

I also need to thank our raffle prize donors…
Moustache Growers Union Local 416647Dila
Terri-Leigh
Sean & Erin
Michel & momondays
Jay Chan
Jason Rolland
Huely Socks (congrats on the launch of Series 2)
burfurt Art
Woodbine Racetrack
Mazz Salon (5 year sponsor!)
I’m sure I’m forgetting someone and I’m sorry!!!

OH WAIT!!! The Marquis of Granby, our venue hosts for 2014, have donated a bar style, Guinness branded, Foosball table and we will be auctioning that bad boy off on Twitter next week. Keep your eyes on the #MoChaKaTO hashtag for details and bids. The winning bid can make their payment to our Tilt campaign and will be able to either pick the table up themselves or (in the GTA) have Jason Rolland deliver it to you because he’s an awesome guy.

Movember 416647 2014And lastly, I need to thank everyone who came out last night and supported us + everyone who donated to the Tilt campaign + everyone who tweeted best wishes to us + everyone who posted photos and videos and the people who liked them and really I just want to thank everyone!

It is incredibly humbling to be part of something that does good for other people with the help of amazing people that I’m lucky enough to know – and to think that this is the 5th year we’ve pulled this thing off, with an awesome collection of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas, makes me very, very happy.

If you’ve got a few minutes take a look at Twitter and Instagram to see how #MoChaKaTO looked and please, if you can, make a donation to Movember and help us change the face of men’s health: moteam.co/moustache-growers-union-local-416647

Thank you to everyone one more time. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

Be awesome!

A photo posted by the2scoops (@the2scoops) on

A photo posted by the2scoops (@the2scoops) on

A photo posted by Rachel MacKz (@rachelmackz) on

3 years ago Views

Movember Journal 2014: Day 15 – Whoa, We’re Halfway There

Movember 2014 Day 15We’ve reached the halfway point of Movember 2014 – and I finally feel like I have a real moustache on my face.

Thanks to my dad and my cousin Scott for their donations so far – here’s hoping that there will be more thank yous to come between now and the end of the month. I believe in you guys!

This week has a been a fun one with more details coming together for Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto.

We can now announce that we have raffle prizes from ->
⋆ Huely Socks
⋆ eOne Entertainment Canada
⋆ our friend Dila who is donating a sweet You Gotta Eat Here prize pack
 Mazz Salon who has been great to us every year
 Woodbine Racetrack and…
 Jason Rolland who will be donating VIP jumper cards for the hardcore #LoserKaraoke enthusiasts in the crowd

If you want to be part of #MoChaKaTO but can’t make it out to the Marquis of Granby on Thursday the 20th – I’ve got good news! We’ve got a Tilt campaign set up so you can donate to challenge host, Jason Rolland to sing Celine Dion (which he will hate) for a good cause. Click the link to donate and make everyone (but Jason) smile: 

I’ve also been lucky to have some Movember fun at the office with a campaign there and some photos from around the office.

Blade Creative Branding Movember 2014I’d also like to take a second to thank my Moustache Growers Union Local 416647 teammates, Sean, Terri-Leigh, Michel, and Mike for being awesome. They are doing a great job of supporting the cause and changing the face of men’s health!

Check them all out and give them high-fives, either in real life or virtually.

If you would like to donate to my moustache, I would totally be okay with that – and you can do so by click this link -> www.mobro.co/phjoshua <- it’s that easy!

3 years ago Views

Movember Journal 2014: Day 8 – Cowboy Up!

Cowboy MovemberIt’s been a big week for country music news in this neck of the woods – and it’s also been a big week for my face. My bare cheeks have been subject to the cold winds for the first time in a year and my moustache has been doing its best to sprout for Movember.

So today, on morning 8 of Movember 2014, I’ve got a journal entry that pays tribute to some country music cowboys.

#MoChaKaTO Update! 
Super excited to tell you that we have prizes for the Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto raffle coming in from Huely Socks, Woodbine Racetrack, eOne Entertainment Canada and more! Keep up to date on the #MoChaKaTO happenings and RSVP for the event here: Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto – the 5-time, 5-time, 5-time, 5-time, 5-time edition!

Okay, let’s look at some ‘staches!

Alan Jackson MovemberAlan Jackson
Alan Jackson’s golden moustache has been part of country music for more than 2 decades and is revered wherever steel guitars are played. Look at it sitting there perfectly on his upper lip, shielded by the brim of his white hat and looking magnificent!

Mr. Jackson, you sure do know how to grow a Mo.

Kix Brooks MovemberKix Brooks
Formally of Brooks and Dunn, and now award winning radio host, Kix Brooks’ moustache has been thrilling fans for a long time. Whether his microphone is on stage or in studio, he’s a voice that country music fans know and love – and a moustache that is perfectly recognizable under that sweet black hat.

Usually the bad guys wear black hats, and this is one bad ass moustache – but we’re pretty sure Kix Brooks is a good Mo Bro!

Tim McGraw MovemberTim McGraw 
We had to go back to the mid-90s to find this moustachioed photo of a young Tim McGraw… but it was worth it. Look at that ‘stache creeping down the sides of Tim’s mouth like a wild vine. He may not have kept it, but remember this – he had that moustache when he landed Faith Hill!

Tim, if you’re reading this, bring back the ‘stache!

Brad Paisley MovemberBrad Paisley
Now it’s clear to see that this Brad Paisley moustache is a fake. In fact, Paisley is doing his Ron Burgandy in this pic… but we don’t care. Look at that dark hair residing under that white hat, it’s glorious. Hopefully Brad has seen how great he looks and has decided that it’s time to ditch the goatee and go with the ‘Mo.

Good luck in your moustache growing efforts Mr. Paisley. Can’t wait to see you at Boots & Hearts 2015!

Joshua Cowboy Movember Day 8 2014Joshua Murray
Okay, so I’m no cowboy country singer… but I sure would like to be. And for the 6th year in a row I’m growing in my moustache to raise some money for Movember Canada. 8 days in I’m pretty happy with how my ‘mo is growing and I’m optimistic that by the end of next week I’ll have a real moustache to show off to the world.

If you would like to donate to my face and help change the face of men’s health, visit my Mo Space page at www.mobro.co/phjoshua and give whatever you can. Every dollar is appreciated and helps a good cause.

Thanks to everyone who is supporting Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world!

Be awesome!

3 years ago Views

Movember Journal 2014: Day 3 – Movember Challenge Karaoke is Coming!

MoChaKaTO 2014Movember is here, I have a little stubble above my upper lip, and I have good news!

The Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto event page has been officially created and you are very invited!

On Thursday, Movember 20th at 9pm we will start the party at the Marquis of Granby (418 Church St.) and we’ll keep things going until 1am… or maybe even 2am.

#MoChaKaTO 2010. @sboulton & @phjoshua

#MoChaKaTO 2010. @sboulton & @phjoshua

If #MoChaKaTO is new to you, let me explain a little. In 2010, Sean and I were sitting at karaoke thinking about ways we could raise money for our first Movember campaign together. Out of that conversation came the idea for challenge karaoke. A night where people could pay to see their friends sing the songs that they picked for them. That 1st MoChaKaTO was held on a cold and rainy Tuesday, November 30th at Tequila Sunrise and we raised $500. We were super happy. And every year since then, we’ve grown!

In 2011 we raised $1116. In 2012 we raised $1680. And in 2013 we raised $2200.
Our 4 year total sits at nearly $5500, which makes us even happier than we were with $500 in our hands in year 1.

With the history out of the way, here’s how Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto works.

When you walk into the Marquis of Granby you will want to go immediately to see karaoke host Jason Rolland to put your name in the rotation. If you wait to do that, you’ll be waiting longer for your chance to sing!

When Mr. Rolland calls your name for your turn to sing, make your way to the microphone in a timely manner with your $5 donation ready to put in the bucket.

Now the fun part… Challenges.

You’ve arrived at the bar, you’ve grabbed a drink, you’ve put your name in the rotation (or you haven’t, we’re not pushy) and you’ve found somewhere to be comfortable – awesome! Now the singing has started and one of your friends gets their name called, so what do you do? You yell CHALLENGE!

Our #MoChaKaTO 2013 Man of Movember, @photojunkie

Our #MoChaKaTO 2013 Man of Movember, @photojunkie

For a donation of $20 you can challenge your friend (or a stranger) to sing any song in the Jason Rolland library that you want (banned songs excepted, we’ll get to those in a minute) to hear. The key to a great challenge is picking a song that works with the singer. A song that they probably know (at least a little) and that they can sing (maybe) and that they can have fun with (definitely) is the way to go.

However, if the singer decides they don’t want to sing your challenge song, they can get themselves off the hook with a donation of $30. If this happens, you will get your $20 back to save for another challenge!

BANNED SONGS!

Jason Rolland has a list of banned songs and artists that includes Paradise By The Dashboard Light, Clay Aiken, Josh Groban and Celine Dion.

If you would like to sing one of these songs, or you would like to challenge someone else to sing them, the donation is $50.

If the banned song you want to sing/challenge is Celine… that donation is $100.

Every year we’ve had 1 singer bust out Celine Dion – this year we’re hoping for 2.

And please don’t let the $100 scare you away, you can pool your money together with friends to make the challenge happen. We are big believers in team work!

In addition to the singing, we will have a raffle that always includes a ton of fun prizes. And we’re working on another surprise that we think will be a ton of fun (and a good reason to donate your money) as well.

November 20th is just a couple weeks away – so check your calendar, clear your schedule, and put aside some cash because this is always one of the best karaoke nights of the year!

We can’t wait to see you. And we can’t wait for you to see our ‘staches!

Be awesome!

Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto 2012!

3 years ago Views

Movember Journal 2014: Day 1

Movember 2014 headerIt’s here again. That wonderful time of year when we give up our faces for a better cause than a good looking beard. Welcome back to Movember.

This is my 6th Movember, and every year my moustache has grown in a little differently, so believe me when I say that I have some nerves about how I’m going to look over the next month. However, I have no nerves about Movember being something I want to be involved in.

I’ve been lucky to team up with some awesome Mo Bros and Mo Sistas over the years – and this year is no different. We already have 5 team members signed up to the Moustache Growers Union Local 416647, and we’re looking for more!

Joshua Fresh Face Movember 1 2014Thanks to Sean, Terri Leigh, Mike, and Michel for jumping on board so quickly again in 2014.

Note: That is my Movember 1st face right now as I type this post. So smooth, so cold, so odd.

This Movember we will also be celebrating the 5th annual Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto fundraiser!

If you’ve never been to, or never heard of our little shindig, I’m telling you right now that it’s a party you don’t want to miss. Every year we have more fun than the last – and every year we raise more money as well. So look for more info to come but save THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20 from 9PM to 2AM to meet us at the MARQUIS OF GRANBY on Church Street in Toronto.

I’ll be inviting all of you that I know on Facebook, and I know the rest of the team will be doing so as well. And I’ll be talking more about the event and sharing links as we get closer to the date.

Note: Sean and I are still flabbergasted when we think about the fact that this will be the 5th #MoChaKaTO event. When we started this thing we didn’t even know if it would work – and now it’s one of my favourite nights of the year. Special thanks to Jason Rolland for hosting us for the last 5 years.

Moustache Growers Union Local 416647Now, for the important part. The reason that I’m doing this again in 2014, the reason that all the members of the Moustache Growers Union Local 416647 are Mo’ing it up this month is to raise awareness and funds to support Men’s Health initiatives in Canada and around the world.

Not a single man is immune to prostate cancer, testicular cancer or mental health issues. That means that your dad, your brother, your cousin, your boyfriend, your husband your best friend – they are all vulnerable. And because of that, we fight to find new ways to protect and treat and support every man who has to go through those fights.

If you would like to support my moustache you can click this link: mobro.co/phjoshua
Or you can visit the Moustache Growers Union Local 416647 page: bit.ly/MovemberUnion2014

If you’ve participating in Movember as a Mo Bro or Mo Sista, leave your name and page link in the comment section so everyone can follow your progress and donate. We’re all in this thing together!

Be awesome!

 

3 years ago Views

#ALSIceBucketChallenge – Completed!

Joshua Murray ALS Ice Bucket Challenge HeaderThis morning I took on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge after I was nominated by both my little brother Christopher and my cousin Shannon over the weekend.

So with the help of Brian (in charge of water) and Chris (in charge of the camera) I completed my Ice Bucket Challenge on the front lawn at the office.

I also made a donation at ALS.ca and encourage you to check out the website to learn more about ALS and to make a donation if you are able and feel so inclined.

Thank you to everyone who has continued to raise awareness and funds through this challenge – you’re doing a good thing!

Keep being awesome!


3 years ago Views

Movember 2013 – Looking Back

Movember 2013 Banner

I love Movember. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, or if you’ve known me for more than the last 4 months, you know this already.

But what I really, really love is being able to be proud of the guys and girls that I work with every year to grow staches, raise money and increase awareness for men’s health initiatives.

I am also proud of the Mo Bros and Mo Sistas that aren’t on my team. This isn’t about who raises the most money, it’s about all of us working together to raise a ton of money for a great cause. I am proud of each and every person who participates, spreads the word, donates and cares about Movember.

Movember Thank You CardAnd it’s easy to be proud when you see the numbers that are in the infographic below these words. Movember sent out an email today to look back on Movember 2013 and how we did as 1 global team of fundraisers. The numbers are amazing. It’s proof positive that the work we are all committed to doing is paying off in the right way. It makes me incredibly happy.

I would also like to take a second to shout out the Toronto Movember team who helped us with exposure and freebies for #MoChaKaTO last November. And they didn’t stop there. Recently I wrote a blog post at work about the great branding work that Movember is doing year round.

Also, they sent me an awesome thank you card that had signatures from the entire office and a sweet message. Thanks to them. They are awesome.

So, take a minute to check out the truly amazing statistics that are in the infographic and click RIGHT HERE to see what’s going on with Movember right now.

Movember 2014 1Movember 2014 2Movember 2014 3

4 years ago Views

What and Who Inspired Me in 2013

Inspiration Banner2013 was a year. Just like every other one.

My 2013 came with ups and downs. Just like everyone else’s.

The thing about ups and downs is, there’s another up coming… and sometimes you just need a little inspiration to help you go out and find it.

I’m lucky (how many times have I said that?) to have had people and moments in my 2013 that helped me realize that I’ve got lots of ups to come and that I deserve to enjoy and celebrate them. I hope that you have those same things in your life, I’m sure you do. Just take a minute to look around for them.

Ashley Gibson: Life is Sweet, Even in February - Poster 2013Early in the year I was inspired by my friend Ashley Gibson who put on the 1st of her 2 cabaret shows at the Flying Beaver Pubaret in 2013. Even though I missed the “Life Is Sweet, Even in February” show I was amazed at her strength and determination in preparing this show with the memory of her mother in mind and the proceeds of the show being donated to the CAMH Foundation to support mental health programs right here in Toronto. I’m also thankful for my friends and family who raised $115 at my birthday to donate to the cause.

If you know Ashley, you know her infectious smile and laugh. And you know that she works hard every day to see the beauty and promise that life has. She truly is inspiring.

Going back to my birthday… having so many friends show up to Lou Dawgs for karaoke with hugs and handshakes and to sing country songs for me was amazing. I have some amazing people in my life and I appreciate every single one of them.

You are all awesome and thinking back to that night is a great reminder that I live a charmed life when maybe I’m not feeling it so much in the moment.

Dave Grohl SXSW Keynote 2013In March of this year at South by Southwest, Dave Grohl gave a keynote address. Now, I love Dave Grohl. I think he’s talented and smart and charming and handsome and wonderful. However, I am not a musician and the keynote address was clearly directed at artists and those in the music industry.

But for some reason, maybe because Dave is my spirit animal, I have found that listening to that keynote address has inspired me to keep pushing and working and trying to do my best. I have played the 49 minute YouTube video at least half a dozen times when I felt that I was dragging creatively. And I know that I will do it again.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend that you watch it, even if you just listen to the audio while you do other things.

Gramp FeatureIn April  my family said goodbye to my grandfather. He was a good man and we all miss him very much. At his funeral I was honoured to be asked to speak about him and my memories in front of friends and family and people who I had never met. Every word was hard to get out and it was the most difficult speaking engagement of my life.

That same day though I was inspired by the strength and love and emotion that my family showed. Aunts and uncles and cousins that I don’t see very much all came together to support each other. But the most inspiring moments came when my cousin Kevin stood up to remember my gramp. He was funny and sweet and said everything that was in his heart. We were all fortunate to be able to hear him speak that day. Good job bud.

No Longer Available NowThis spring I was also on the job hunt which was long and hard for me. I had a lot of moments I felt sorry for myself and questioned my abilities and skill set. I interviewed at a few places unsuccessfully before finding a new gig in June.

And through it all I was inspired to keep trying, not by my shrinking bank account balance, but by my friends who continued to send me links to job postings and spread the word that I was looking and encouraged me along the way. The support and kind words and love helped me push and keep trying instead of giving up and taking something I didn’t want. Thank you all for that.

Blade Creative Branding LogoAt the new job I have been inspired by the creative freedom that has been given to me. Yes, I have to keep client goals and boundaries in mind. But for the most part I have been given the opportunity to create the content that I think will get the job done and writing the pieces that I am interested in.

I love what I do as a community manager/content creator/planner/strategist – and part of that love comes from being able to let my ideas dictate my work. Being able to turn my ideas into finished products inspires me to keep pushing new ideas out on a daily basis. I sincerely hope that those opportunities keep coming my way.

Let’s skip ahead to November and something that inspires me every single year… Movember.

MoChaKaTO FeatureFor a fourth year in a row I was fortunate enough to be joined by great friends and dedicated fundraisers in an effort to support men’s health initiatives. And for a fourth year in a row we hosted Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto as our biggest push to raise money for the cause.

This year was our biggest and best yet with more members than ever on our team, more participation than ever in the event and more money donated at karaoke than ever before. The night end total of $2280 surpassed all of my expectations – and brought our 4 year total to over $5500. I don’t yet know how we’re going to be able to make 2014 more successful, but I trust that our team and friends and families will help us do just that.

The participation and dedication and love that we were all showed this Movember is inspiring to me. As a community we came together and reached a goal. That makes us awesome.

This year I was also inspired by my mom as she became a licensed Lay Minister in the United Church of Canada, my dad who told me of his long awaited retirement plan and my friends who continue to work hard, support awesome charity programs and play a major part in their communities in cities all over the world.

I know that inspiration comes in different forms for different people. And I believe that there are times when we all need to be inspired so that we can do the work that we love and believe in, even if we don’t believe in ourselves.

I’ve been lucky enough to find a lot of examples of inspiration in 2013 – and I believe that I will be able to find more examples again in 2014.

I hope you do too.

ps. here’s the video of Dave Grohl’s SXSW Keynote, you can press play and listen right now!

4 years ago Views

2013: The Year In The Reviews

2013 Year in ReviewAs we near the end of another year it’s time to look back at some of the awesome things that I’ve been able to do in 2013.

Before I list a whole bunch of things, I need to say that I am lucky and appreciative for all of the opportunities that have come my way and continue to appear in front of me. Some of them are luck, some of them are acts of kindness by friends, some of them came as a result of the work that I put in… but they were all awesome.

Miranda Lambert Boots and Hearts FeatureBoots and Hearts: For the 2nd year in a row I was able to head to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with a media pass for Boots and Hearts. This year was even better than last with more content created, more visibility on the blog and more great music. Thank you to Trish for taking the photos that you saw and for trekking back and forth with me from Toronto to Bowmanville Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s hard to pick a highlight from the weekend, but I’ll go with a combination of country artists interacting with us online during and after the event, and being just feet away from Country Music’s Female Artist of the Year, Miranda Lambert during the opening 3 songs of her set on Sunday night.

ArtBomb at The Spoke Club: I’m not much of an art collector or appreciator, but thanks for Trish and her work with ArtBomb I was able to go to The Spoke Club and come home with a painting by Justin Blayney, enjoy a couple drinks and look at art with Trish, Jay Chan and Julie Tyios. Here’s hoping 2014 brings more chances like that one.

My Birthday Karaoke: We might not karaoke at Lou Dawg’s any more, but on my birthday in February we packed the joint with friends, drinks and country music. Thank you to everyone who came out that night to sing me a country song, give me a handshake or a hug and donate some change to Ashley‘s work with CAMH. My 31st was a pretty great birthday to ring in.

Blade Creative Branding LogoNew Job at Blade: In June I was given a new career opportunity with an ad agency that is new to the social media game. In the six months since I’ve been able to work with multiple clients in a research, strategy, development and deployment capacity. I’ve learned about advertising and rolling with the punches. I’ve had some awesome success. I’ve had some things not work as well as I’d planned. And I think that I’m better at my job now because of all of it.

Freelance Work with Sonic Boom: With a big thank you to Rannie, in the spring and early summer I was able to work with the Ford team at Sonic Boom Creative on some cool projects. Being invited to a Toronto Raptors game to hang out with some awesome kids attached to the You Can Play project was a unique opportunity that came with a box seat at the ACC. And the MLSE Team-Up Challenge was a super hot day down at BMO Field, but a great chance to see people coming together to play some sports, have some fun and raise money for a worthy cause.

Rodeo at The Royal: Trish bought some amazing tickets to see the Rodeo at the Royal this fall. It had been at least 15 years since I’d seen live rodeo action and this was a great show to see and get back into it. All of the riders were top notch and I hope that the photographer has recovered from his throw and fall.

Social Media Week Toronto LogoSocial Media Week: For the first time this year I attended panels and keynotes at Social Media Week Toronto. Having the chance to hear really smart people in the industry talking about best practices and ideas and the future of social media is always a treat and this year I was able to immediately put some of those ideas into practice in my work life for the agency and clients. Congrats and thanks to everyone who got on stage and shared their expertise with us as a group. You’re Awesome.

One of a Kind Shows: Both the Spring and Christmas One of a Kind Shows were packed with awesome hand made and unique crafts, art and food. It seems like each year the shows get bigger and better with more vendors and customers. Thanks again to the show runners for allowing me to come and cover the events as media so I can get a good look at what’s going on and pass it on to the internet.

2013 Toronto Blue Jays Logo

Live Baseball, Football, Lacrosse, Basketball & Hockey Games: Brian, Trish, Sean, Rayanne, Rannie, Jay Chan, Terri-Leigh, Jessica, Sean #2, Allegra, Erin… I hope I’m not forgetting anyone, but I might be. This year I’ve been able to see the Blue Jays, Raptors, Marlies, Maple Leafs, Argos and Rock play live home games at Rogers Centre, Ricoh Colesium and the Air Canada Centre with some great company. I love live sports and having good people to watch with is a great bonus. Thanks to everyone who sat and cheered with me.

Note: To the best of my memory here’s the breakdown of games I got to see in 2013…
– Blue Jays: 20
– Marlies: 7
– Argos: 2
– Raptors: 2
– Rock: 1
– Maple Leafs: 1

Time with Family and Friends: Birthdays, brunches, baseball games, parties, game night and more. I’ve had some great days and nights in 2013 that were the direct result of the company I was with. Thank you to everyone who invited me to something, came to something I invited them to, hung out with me in good times and bad, and generally just spent time with me this year. I’m grateful.

The Chance to Say Goodbye to my Grandpa: This spring my gramp passed away and my family gathered in Port Hope to say goodbye at his funeral. It’s really fair to say that we don’t get together often enough, and this wasn’t the kind of reason that we wanted to. But being with all of them and sharing stories and memories of the old man was much better than not being able to.

#MoChaKaTOMovember and #MoChaKaTO: For the 4th year in a row I was lucky enough to work with Sean and the rest of our team to put on the Movember Challenge Karaoke Toronto fundraiser. And for the 4th year in a row we had a great turn out, had the support of our friends and strangers, AND we raised more money than we ever had before. The $2200 that was donated through challenges, banned songs, raffle tickets, Jason‘s VIP draw and random throw-ins far surpassed any realistic expectations I had when I walked into the Winchester that night. A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who supported us for Movember 2013.

Reviews and Sponsored Posts: When I started posting on this blog in September 2009 I had no direction, no audience and no idea what I was doing. There are still days now when all of those things can seem to be true – but once in a while I get the chance to check out something cool or make a buck or 2 because I’ve stuck with it. I don’t expect those opportunities and I don’t take them for granted. I also don’t want any of you to think that I play favourites or give out positive reviews because I’ve been paid or given something for free. If I like something, I’ll tell you about it. If I don’t like something, I probably won’t say anything about it at all. That’s how I work.

CNE 2013 Day 1 Midway Ferris WheelCNE Blogger: Despite the unfortunate events that came after the fair, I had a wonderful time as one of the Official CNE Bloggers this year. The chance to visit the CNE on multiple days and nights, eat some really tasty food, check out the music, go home with a new phone and hang out with friends while I did it was good fun. I can’t wait to go back next year with the passes that I was given. I also really hope that the CNE continues with some sort of blogger program in 2014. I’d hate to think that a couple people ruined it moving forward.

Rock ‘N’ Horse pre-Opening and Grand Opening: Very recently I was lucky enough to be invited to check out one of the 2 new country bars in Toronto. The Rock ‘N’ Horse Saloon on Adelaide St W. looks like it’s going to have some success in the Entertainment District with a mechanical bull, good drinks, a dance floor, huge rooftop patio and a central location. I’m not in love with the Entertainment District or the weekend crowd, but I will be back.

That’s not everything. But it’s some of my favourite things. And thank you to everyone who helped make them all happen.

To say that I’ve had a pretty lucky year would be easy. Yes, there have been challenges, but it would be unreasonable and selfish to ask for all the good without an obstacle or 2 to overcome.

I sincerely hope that all of you have a chance to look back at 2013 and realize that you have even half of the things to celebrate and be thankful for that I do.

And I’d like to thank all of you who have read the blog, tweeted at me, supported me and been my friend in real life or online.

Be Awesome.

4 years ago Views
Scroll to top