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North Saanich musicians help raise $10,500 for Doctors Without Borders in Ukraine

Cowboy Celtic featuring David Wilkie and Denise Withnell to perform with Edmonton Symphony
David Wilkie (far left) and Denise Withnell (far right) are the North Saanich members of Cowboy Celtic. The quintet turned their rehearsal for a May performance with the Edmonton Symphony into a fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders in the Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of Cowboy Celtic)

A musical fundraiser featuring two North Saanich residents raised at least $10,500 for Doctors Without Borders helping in Ukraine.

Cowboy Celtic, a quintet featuring David Wilkie and Denise Withnell of North Saanich, played the show April 15 in Cordova Bay. The show hosted on the patio of Dr. Michael Quinlan and his wife Trixie drew an audience of 100. Cowboy Celtic, which blends western and Celtic music, is set to perform with the Edmonton Symphony next week and turned what was a chance to rehearse into a fundraiser.

Quinlan said it was easy choice to direct the funds toward Doctors Without Borders, given their long track record in so many conflict zones, their involvement in Ukraine since 2014 and their dependence on private donations, which account for over 96 per cent of their funds.

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“We are all happy to be playing together again to a live audience after such a long pandemic hiatus,” said Withnell. “We’ve been together so long we’re like family. And we’re delighted that this fundraiser for Ukraine was so successful, and that we could be part of it.”

The show also featured a poem from Ukrainian videographer Yaroslav Shevchenko with Shevchenko noting that Ukrainians turn to poetry when in emotional distress. The band also performed The Ukrainian, a traditional polka from that country.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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