Larry Foley asked fellow musicians for help

By Jaymie White

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

ST. JOHN'S — Fiona may have wreaked havoc on the Southwest Coast, but support has been second to none. Larry Foley, a musician from Placentia, wanted to help and issued a call to action to other musicians across the province.

Foley asked that fellow musicians, on the weekend of Oct. 28 and 29, offer whatever portion of their tips and gig earnings they could towards the funds raised by the ‘We Stand on Guard Again’ benefit concert, which raised a total of $1.69 million for the Hurricane Fiona relief.

“My motivation was that all musicians in the province would like to be able to lend their talents toward that effort, and so it was just a call to action amongst all working musicians on this particular weekend when the drive was on to raise funds for the Hurricane Fiona effort. I just made a call and said, ‘hey guys, get out your tip jars, pick up what you can, give what you can of your earnings,’ so it’s an effort from all musicians across the province. That’s where I was coming from.”

Foley said it was all about musicians giving what they were able, and that there was no set amount for each donation.

“For me, personally, what I did was I put out my tip jar and I gave whatever I got in my tips. I did okay. It was over $100 bucks over the two nights, and I gave it directly to the Red Cross. I just hope that others did the same,” said Foley. “There’s no metric on what kind of success my little attempt made, but I just wanted the folks in need to know that others were thinking about them. We are a larger community of musicians across the province, we are a brotherhood and sisterhood, so it was a gesture of goodwill as well.”

Foley said that even any small amount helps those impacted.

“It’s not a million dollars, but it felt good seeing people get up from their chair and put a $20 bill in the jar. I’m sure folks who are in need of one penny will be grateful for that, and that’s what I liked about it. It was an opportunity for all musicians to feel like they were a part of it.”

Foley said the feedback he received after posting on Oct. 14 was amazing.

“It was great. NTV even called me right away. I did a press release on it and they thought it was great,” said Foley. “Musicians messaged me and said it was a great idea. They shared it on Facebook, and I liked the spirit of it all. That was just as important as the money that was raised.”

Foley noted that it wasn’t a group donation,but something that was done on an individual basis.

“I didn’t collect a pot or anything of that nature. It was up to individuals to give. It was a way to take our talents and make them part of the greater good," said Foley. “When benefits are over, everybody likes to look for the giant cheque with the big number on it, but the little numbers count too, and I think that’s where I was coming from, just to be able to add to the entire effort.”

Foley didn't hesitate to help out because he has a bit of understanding about what the Southwest coast is going through.

“I grew up in Placentia and we experienced flooding at a pretty alarming level during the 80’s until we built a seawall around the town, so I know what it’s like to have the salt water coming into your house. So I guess that was probably a trigger for me, besides the human aspect of feeling for anyone who is in this situation. I had a bit of first hand knowledge, but nothing on that level,” said Foley. “Houses by the water is who we are. Whether it’s your grandparents’ house, your aunts’ or your uncles’, you pretty much feel that we’re a family when you see those types of images. It’s profound. It’s hard to get your head around, but we also know that the spirit of rebuilding is alive and well in Port aux Basques, across the channel and up into Labrador as well."

Jaymie White, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wreckhouse Weekly News