Jackson touring new Christmas show


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This December, Tom Jackson is bringing a Christmas tradition back to Brandon for the first time since 2019.

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This December, Tom Jackson is bringing a Christmas tradition back to Brandon for the first time since 2019.

The actor, singer and storyteller toured his “The Huron Carole” concert across Canada during the holiday season for decades since 1980, but he has something new up his sleeve for his post-pandemic return to action.

Jackson, the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Brandon University last year, started the “Stories, Songs & Santa Causes” tour in Edmonton on Thursday.

Brandon is the seventh stop on a coast-to-coast tour, with a performance at the Bethel Christian Assembly on Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Joining the “North of 60” actor for his performances will be Tom McKillip — a hall-of-fame producer with the BC Country Music Association — and multi-instrumentalist John MacArthur Ellis.

Local talent from Brandon University’s Bel Canto choir and the Prairie Blend men’s choir will also be featured.

In a phone interview with the Sun earlier this week, Jackson said that while the tour might be a little different in terms of content, the goal is still the same.

“The goal is to get you out of your funk,” Jackson said. “Because we’ve been in a funk for two years now.”

He said he wants to give people positive thoughts and show them the capacity for love. To him, love and Christmas aren’t just words, they’re verbs — actions that people can embody.

Children are encouraged to come with their parents to laugh and cheer along with everyone else, Jackson said.

By doing this, Jackson hopes to inspire positivity, not just in the communities he’s visiting but across the country. Apart from collecting donations, he’s also asking Canadians to name what their favourite “Santa Cause” charity is, on his website: tomjackson.ca.

As has been the case with Jackson’s concerts in Brandon for years now, proceeds in Brandon will go to The Counselling Centre and its mission to provide mental health and support services.

“You get to see a show and we are determined to make you healthier, happier and, at the end of the day, recognize the value of purchasing your ticket was to help save lives,” Jackson said.

“Because that’s what The Counselling Centre does. You might think that’s an exaggeration, but the people that we help are people who are in distress. We want to make sure that we give them the opportunity to carry on in their world in a happier place.”

In 2020 and 2021, the performances of “The Huron Carole” were largely offered online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, last year, there was an opportunity to perform a few live shows in Western Canada and the new show was created to not compete with the digital presentation.

For those unable to attend the new tour’s shows this year, there will once again be digital broadcasts available, comprised of highlights from the last two years’ performances.

The Counselling Centre’s executive director Heather Karrouze — also the freshly elected city councillor for Ward 1 — expressed delight at Jackson’s return to the Wheat City.

“I am thrilled,” Karrouze said. “It’s been 25 years since Tom first came to Brandon … and over the years, that concert series has left literally thousands of dollars in our community. The Counselling Centre is very fortunate to be the recipient of funds raised, and all funds raised at the concerts stay in our community.”

Part of the centre’s mission isn’t just to provide counselling, but affordable counselling. The fees clients pay are assessed based on income and the funds the concert generates go toward subsidizing counselling.

In the last fiscal year, Karrouze said, the centre subsidized more than $112,000 worth of counselling. That, she said, has led to lives being changed for the better, or even saved.

“Every dollar raised at this event will assist folks who are not able to pay a standard fee, or who don’t have third-party coverage through a workplace,” she said.

As has been the case with previous concerts, Karrouze is encouraging those in attendance to bring non-perishable food items to donate to Helping Hands soup kitchen.

Tickets are on sale now, both at The Counselling Centre and Hairistocracy, for $30 each.

“I think I can confidently say that of the communities we come to, Brandon is dear to my heart,” Jackson said. “They embrace what we represent. This show is about resiliency, remembrance, reverence, celebration. We’ve learned how to function above despair.”

» cslark@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @ColinSlark

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