Concert proceeds help fight cancer

Gary Clark assembles band for two shows in Kelowna and Chilliwack

Cancer has left a devastating impact on the life of Gary Cable.

But music has given him a chance to overcome personal tragedy and satisfy a lifelong interest to be a professional musician.

“When you or someone close to you is faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis, it makes you ask yourself a lot of questions about what you want to be when you grow up,” Cable said.

His adult life had been largely devoted to becoming one of Western Canada’s leading entertainment lawyers.

But his idea of success in life changed when cancer struck his family and others around him.

As a result, Cable has launched the Conquer Cancer Tour 2018, with performances slated for Chilliwack on May 5 and Kelowna on May 12.

Henry Small, former lead singer of Prism, and Julie Masi, from The Parachute Club, will join Cable and his band for the Chilliwack show, and Masi and Rann Berry will also perform in the Kelowna show.

Cable’s hope is the tour will be an annual event in more venues across Western Canada, with proceeds donated to the BC Cancer Foundation to support local programs where the concerts are held.

Cancer has left a major impact on Cable’s life. His wife Melissa was diagnosed with colorectal cancer which metastasized to her liver. At the age of 44, the mother of two young daughters, she was given 12 months to live.

“Something like that changes your life in a heartbeat. A cancer diagnosis can turn something happy into something that is devastating,” Cable said.

He has also seen his friend Steven Andrews lose his wife to cancer at age 33, his musical mentor and good friend Tommy Banks passed away in January from leukemia, and Banks’ daughter Toby died of cancer at age 43.

“There have been too many others, friends and family members who have lost parents, partners and, worst of all, children to this disease,” Cable said.

He does find some positive reinforcement in his brother Brian being a cancer survivor, accelerating his personal desire to make a difference to the research and treatment efforts for cancer patients.

“This is my opportunity to make a difference,” Cable said.

While he maintains an office in Edmonton, Cable said he is largely retired from the entertainment legal world, having moved to Kelowna and built his own recording studio in his house to fuel his creative passion for music.

He bills his concert as “legendary music by legendary musicians,” a tribute to both the music from the 1968 to 1986 era, and the musicians he has gathered together with resumes that include playing for such artists as Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan and k.d. Lang.

Cable says the setlist reflect an era of experimentation in music, when the standard guitar-bass-drums-keyboards rock group ensemble began giving way to grander orchestration sounds.

“How I describe it as the post-Woodstock, post-Sgt. Pepper, post-Pet Sounds album era, when all the great bands of that era started using horns and strings to create a bigger sound than we’d heard before,” Cable said.

“Musical groups were becoming more musically sophisticated with influences from rhythm and blues, jazz and the big band era,” he said, citing such groups as Chicago, Steely Dan, Earth Wind & Fire, Lighthouse, Blood Sweat & Tears, Toto, Stevie Wonder and Elton John.

The Conquer Cancer Tour comes to Chilliwack on Saturday, May 4, 7:30 p.m., at Chilliwack Cultural Centre; and Saturday, may 12, 7 p.m., at Kelowna Community Theatre.

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