Sarnia realtor Adam Dumond is committed to keeping the conversation going about mental health and suicide prevention.
“I want to be part of the reason people are talking about it,” he says. “I want to educate my kids and others about how to find help if they ever struggle with mental health.”
Last year, Dumond came up with a fundraiser to draw attention to the issue and channel more funding to local agencies that offer counselling and other supports.
It’s called Sarnia Sings and it’s pretty unique.
Dumond gathers about 20 local singers to build his show around. Some have experience singing in a band. Some are really good at karaoke but have seldom been on stage. A few are sponsors and add what Dumond calls “the personality.” They might not be the best singers but they are entertaining, he said.
“Of course, the odd sponsor also has a really great voice.”
Dumond hires Toronto-based band “Rock Star Live,” which comes with its own backup singers and specializes in cover songs.
Participants choose their song and perform with the band on the Imperial Theatre stage. Scattered throughout the evening are moments with local people personally impacted by mental health issues share their perspective.
“I want to make it okay to talk about these things,” said Dumond, who works with the Sarnia Community Foundation on the project.
He came up with the concept to promote Sarnia Sings while attending a Royal LePage conference in Las Vegas. Coincidentally, Royal LePage is this year’s lead sponsor.
“I was asked to help promote the conference and offered to do a carpool karaoke video,” he said. “I like singing and I know how to make videos, so I thought it would be fun.”
Carpool karaoke worked well as a promotional tool for the conference and got Dumond thinking about something similar for Sarnia.
He’s had no trouble recruiting singers, selling them on the experience of carpool karaoke and being a rock star for one night. He claims no one has turned him down.
Dumond said he stole the carpool karaoke idea from late night talk show host James Corden who regularly makes carpool karaoke videos with big time celebrities.
Dumond soon proved he can attract a lot of attention for Sarnia Sings with his own brand of carpool karaoke.
It’s not unusual for one of his videos to get 10,000 to 11,000 views, he said. They are posted on the Sarnia Sings Facebook page.
Unique promotion for a unique night of local entertainment and story sharing seem to be a winning combination.
Last year, about $16,000 was raised for St. Clair Child & Youth, Canadian Mental Health and the Dekker Bauer Foundation. This year, more than 300 tickets are already sold for the May 3 show.
“I don’t want to say too much about who is in the show or what they’ll be doing, but I can say the level of sponsorship is allowing me to improve the production level,” he said.
“The special effects should blow everyone away.”
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Sarnia Sings, showcasing local singers and helping charities that focus on mental health and suicide prevention.
WHERE: Imperial Theatre, 168 Christina St.
WHEN: Thursday, May 3. 7:30 p.m.
TICKETS: $25, includes a light wristband that syncs to the music. Available at www.imperialtheatre.net or the box office.