The Comox Valley musical community has always been proactive in supporting community needs through fundraising events. As hosts of the “1st Tuesday Fundraisers” from the beginning, musical duo Judy and Bruce Wing envisioned inviting people to attend a monthly concert series that featured local musicians raising money for local charities.
For the Wings, a major challenge of initiating the ongoing event was finding a venue that would commit to a long term arrangement with no guarantee of how it would be received.
They approached Mex Pub owner Roy Tai whom they had worked with on previous occasions. Roy was enthusiastic about the idea of bringing in good quality acoustic music, supporting charity, and the opportunity to introduce the Mex to different segments of the community, especially those who may not have considered it an acoustic music venue. He graciously committed the Mex Pub venue on the first Tuesday of each month and set the wheels in motion.
The first event, held in December 2008, featured Todd Butler and was a great success, gathering a full house and generous cash and food donations for the Comox Valley Food Bank.
It was always truly a team effort. Bruce provided sound equipment and arranged performers who would share the stage and their musical vision. Judy prepared posters, press releases and web updates for the event, and Roy provided the venue and covered the costs involved.
The format was simple but effective. As hosts, Judy and Bruce would perform a short set of original music and cover tunes, then hand over the stage to the featured performer. The evening often closed with the hosts performing with the featured performer, which could be both musically spontaneous and magical.
The events provide an awareness opportunity for local charities, and performers receive a small honorarium in appreciation of their performance.
Judy and Bruce Wing are among the Comox Valley’s musical favourites. They have a warm and humorous stage presence and a musical diversity that has something for everyone. Judy’s world-class voice is wrapped in a warm and unassuming personality; her song writing is both poetic and evocative and covers many musical styles with ease and precision.
Bruce, a gifted musician and songwriter, plays a variety of instruments and adds harmonies as well as a gentle impish charm to the performances.
Although they clearly enjoy sharing their many talents, they have preserved a sincere modesty and are always willing to support other musicians.
They currently run the Sunday night open mic at the Roy’s Towne Pub in Royston, (going on 12 years) and the Wednesday night open mic at The High Tide Public House. The open mics are warm, welcoming and supportive of all ages and styles of musicians, and always encourage collaborations, with Judy and Bruce always willing to provide musical support.
For the last ten years subsequent concerts have been held on the 1st Tuesday of each month, and have featured solo artists, duos, trios, even six piece acoustic groups performing everything from folk, jazz, country, Celtic, musical comedy, and bluegrass.
Admission each month is by cash donation. Food donations for the Comox Valley Food Bank are also accepted at the door. The concerts have raised over $50,000 for local charities as they head into their eleventh year.
Sue Pyper, a local performer for the fundraiser says, “Judy and Bruce are always thinking of others and this is a classic example of their community spirit. I have performed a number of times at the Mex. It’s an intimate acoustic venue with a nice stage set up, a listening audience and friendly atmosphere.” Sue and Julie Matthews will be the featured artists on April 2/19 raising funds for the Comox Valley Transition Society.
After nine years, Judy and Bruce decided it was time for a change and passed the fundraiser and it’s organizing over to Scott Lyle, a local musician/entertainer. Scott and his trio Coast to Coast, (with Lainie Laughlin and Corey Francis), host the events, which now include George Turner on the sound board, making everyone sound great.
It is thanks to the enthusiasm of both audiences and musicians alike that the concert series is still going strong.
People like Roy Tai of the Mex Pub and Judy and Bruce are fine examples of the generosity and heart of this community that make the Valley such an amazing place to live.
Editor’s Note: C/VArts is grateful to have been recipients of 1st Tuesday Fundraisers a few times over the past 11 years. We are excited to say, May 7 2019 we are on the roster again. Please join us with the Lunchbox Legends, who are Chris Hansen, Bruce & Judy Wing, and Blaine Dunaway.