By: Jnet Lavoie
This Saturday is the third Music 4 the Missing concert taking place in the civic square in front of Kitchener City Hall. It’s a free awareness event with donation of non-perishable food donation for the Food Bank. It sheds light on the many individuals that are missing in our area, brings together families who are searching for their loved ones, and educates the public of the issues surrounding missing persons and the resources available to help. Many organizations will be on hand to educate people about their role in the community and how they assist those in need. This year’s line up has 12 musical acts: Loretta Fullerton, Christen Zuch, Gwen’s Mascara, Blindsided Poets, The Cartunes, Chris Yenney, Drew Leith and The Foundation, Little Alex, Tracie Kennedy, Janice Jo Lee, Eric Bolton, and Vulgar Ballet. The event runs from 10am to 10pm. I was able to get a hold of the organizer of Music 4 the Missing, Lindy Smith, to find out how it came to be and what it’s all about.
VR: How did Music 4 the Missing come to be? How’d you get the idea?
Lindy: On Dec 1st 2010 my 28 yr old stepdaughter Tasha Marie Smith walked out of her group home in Cambridge and seemingly vanished into thin air. My husband and I were blindsided and lost as to what to do and where to go. During the endless months of searching for her I became aware that she wasn’t the only missing adult in this area and that we weren’t alone in our emotional roller coaster. I then started to get involved with other families who also have a missing loved one and found comfort from their words of support and just knowing that they understood my bad days and grief.
My husband and I ran down many many tips, only to the heartbreak of seeing a girl that looked like Tasha. Things turned around a bit for me at Halloween of 2011 when I heard of a concert tour from the USA called The Squeaky Wheel Concert Tour. My husband and I were invited to attend at Long & McQuade in Toronto on Nov 5th to see this Concert. This tour was started by Jannel Rap whose sister Gina Bos, went missing from Lincoln, Nebraska in October 2000. They travel the USA and raise awareness about missing adults. I thought that this was such a great idea to raise awareness through music, that I decided to create my own event and Music 4 The Missing was born.
VR: For how many years has the event been running? What is the goal and how has the event been helping to achieve this?
Lindy : The first Music 4 The Missing Awareness event was held Dec 3, 2011, at the L-Lounge (Chrysalid Theatre) and brought together 6 families in this area that had a missing loved one. With some wonderful musicians donating their time and also organizations attending to raise awareness of their roles in the community, we succeeded our expectations that night. I was encouraged to hold a small event in March and now this, my 3rd Music 4 The Missing Awareness Event will be outdoors at Kitchener City Hall June 16th – 10 am till 10 pm. I decided that not only was it important to raise awareness about missing loved ones but to also raise awareness about charitable organizations and programs that help our less fortunate, women, families etc, because hopefully one of them was helping Tasha. I found out after Tasha went missing that I was horribly uneducated about the resources that are in our community and if Music 4 The Missing could help educate even 5 people about these organizations then that would be 5 more that could spread the word.
VR: How does the event help the families who are missing a loved one?
Lindy: More families are now hearing of the events and coming out..only a family who has a missing loved one can really understand the horrible emotional roller coaster we go through every day, so this really has become an important support system. The families have time to share ideas, regrets, goals, and tears, without embarrassment. At the first event there were so many tears and a new understanding that we were all in this together. I told one family that alone we were like a yappy little dog, people stop listening after awhile, but all of our families together were a powerful message and more like the Rottweiler.
VR: Why is it important to keep this event going and to keep the search going?
Lindy: One of the most important things for a family when their loved one goes missing is to keep their family member in the minds of the public, internet, flyers, radio, and TV are wonderful tools but can only go so far. With events like Music 4 The Missing Awareness Events, we are able to get more publicity, people come out to hear the music and that creates awareness just by people talking. We also try to educate people about issues, like human trafficking, so the Human Trafficking Awareness Coordinator for the RCMP in London will be there, educate about mental health issues, so we invited CMHA, educate about what great lengths organizations have to do to help our less fortunate so Out of The Cold, Ray of Hope, The Working Centre, and ROOF have been invited. I know that if I felt I was alone and needed help, then another family will be feeling the same and I just wanted to help. There are so many, many missing and they are someones daughter, son, brother, sister; someone somewhere is missing them and loves them, no matter where they are, what they’ve done, someone loves them..and I just want to help anyway I can.
For more information visit www.music4themissing.ca
You can also check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Music-4-The-Missing/262961540420259