Jack Gunderson on hand drums and Ray Harvey on guitar. The duo headlined the Music in the Lake: Winter Nights event in January.

Music in the Lake: Winter Nights jams on this month

As the main event draws closer, organizer Elvin Hedden says the group is struggling with a lack of volunteers.

Despite the warm weather, Music in the Lake: Winter Nights continues to play along, with the fourth monthly event set to take place this weekend.

This month’s headliners are the Paul Ruszel Trio. Ruszel, a Cowichan Valley-based musician, will be accompanied by Bryon Thompson and Tom Horsfall. The band will be playing a set of original folk/pop songs, following local opening act The Good Time Boys.

The upcoming event will follow the “coffee house” format of previous concerts, and the 50 Plus Activity Centre will be stocked with a coffee canteen, snacks and other non-alcoholic refreshments. After paying the band, proceeds will go towards the centre itself.

“The 50 Plus Centre is the perfect venue for Winter Nights,” organizer Elvin Hedden, who also plays with the Good Time Boys, said. “It’s central to the community and has a relationship with a lot of the seniors in town — they feel comfortable to drive or walk there. It’s a setting that has ambience, you can light some candles, it’s a great venue for music.”

Music in the Lake: Winter Nights will close with a final performance in June, as Music in the Lake: Summer Nights takes over in July.

Hedden said the event has been a huge hit with Lake Cowichan residents, and he hopes to continue it later in the year.

“We tend to go a year at a time,” Hedden said, “and we’ll keep it going for as long as its successful.”

Summer Nights is set to take place over ten weeks, starting in July, with a performance each Saturday evening at the band-shell in Central Park.

The event began in 2011 as a fundraiser for local non-profits, and continues to help support CICV 98.7, Kaatza Museum, Lake Cowichan Animal Rescue, the 50 Plus Activity Centre and the Kaatza Arts Group, as well as the local music scene.

The events are organized by a small team of volunteers, though Hedden said the group is in need of more hands as they approach the main summer event, particularly someone to move tables and chairs to and from the venue.

“We’re going through the same thing that a lot of local groups, like the Lake Days Society, are going through,” Hedden said. “We only have six people left and they’re doing everything.”

Hedden and his group will be holding a meeting on April 11 at Country Grocer, at 7 p.m.

The Paul Ruszel Trio will be playing on March 21 at the 50 Plus Activity Centre. Doors open at 6 p.m. and admission is $5.

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