Syrian benefit features The Bills’ CD release

CD launch is part of a community fundraiser for Syrian refugee family

The Bills perform March 11 at the new Dave Dunnet community theatre at Oak Bay High School.

In a turn of “beautiful synchronicity,” The Bills’ local album release party takes an unusual route, building a Syrian refugee fundraiser.

“It’s an unorthodox way to do a CD release but the The Bills are an unorthodox band,” said Chris Frye.

Frye used to work with several employees and volunteers from the University of Victoria’s Division of Continuing Studies who make up the Continuing Studies Community Refugee Support.

“In a way maybe we’re mature enough to say a CD release is important, but we don’t need to be the centre of attention. We’ve been at it a long time and released a number of records,” Frye said. “We’re mature enough to do something positive.”

Continuing Studies Community Refugee Support aims to bring a specific Syrian family of six to the region. “It seems personal, it’s not a general contribution to a fund. This is a family of six – that people I know, know. They’re trying to get these people here to Victoria … to this incredible place we call home,” Frye said. “It’s a more direct human level for me … To give someone who’s had a rough time a chance to do something here is wonderful.”

The group came together several months ago and discovered a colleague had a cousin he hadn’t met who fled Syria in 2013. He and his wife were raising four boys aged two to nine in a refugee camp in Turkey. They raised the $35,000 minimum required to bring a family here, but like many groups targeted $50,000 to help cover living expenses for the first year in Victoria.

“It could be our family could be here in the next few months and we’ve not reached our goal,” said Tania Muir, an organizer of what will be their largest fundraising and community-building event March 11. “What we’ve found is that there’s quite a number of people … an amazing community that’s already built up around these efforts.”

The night will also feature a silent auction.

“We were trying to focus on an individual event that would bring together a number of ideas. That venue also allows us to have a silent auction that night and we have a special occasions licence to also offer beverages,” Muir said.

The quintet’s new CD Trail of Tales headlines the event at the Oak Bay High community theatre.  “I think they’re each accomplished musicians in their own right… this is a folk rock pop,” Muir said. “It’s accessible high-quality music that has a celebratory feel to it that is nice fit for this event.”

The silent auction starts at 7 p.m. with the concert at 8. Tickets are $25 and are available at Brown Paper Tickets www.bit.do/TheBills-Vic.

“This group has done an amazing job of raising the funds and doing the administrative stuff,” Frye said. “We’re just happy to be a very small part of this much bigger effort.”

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