Monday, September 19, 2011

Adopt a Village in Laos Fundraiser: Amazing Attendance

Bev Korasack (Sieng LaoRadio) and me

The Adopt a Village in Laos fundraiser at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Port Hope, Ontario this past Saturday, September 17 was an absolutely amazing success. It was an evening filled with great presentations (from Steve Rutledge and Mike Yap, Ted Amsden and me, Roland Drake), live musical performances from a local band, a silent auction and delicious food from the local Thai restaurant, Buluai A Taste of Thai. Over 150 people, including six of my friends from Toronto and Bev Korasack from Fairchild Radio's Sieng Lao Radio program in Toronto, attended this event.

Uwe Meyer, the artistic director of the Capitol Theatre, kicked off the evening by introducing Steve and Mike. After they briefly spoke to the audience, they introduced me as the first presenter of the evening. Never having attempted anything like this before, I found myself unusually calm and centred. During the intermission, I received praise for my presentation from some of the guests.

For my 10 minutes in the spotlight, I began with a short PowerPoint presentation illustrating some general and sobering statistics about Laos. Then I shifted to the piece de resistance of my presentation, a video titled, "The Dark Days of Laos", which I had created from archival audio and movie sources. Set to the song "Nella Fantasia" ("In My Fantasy"), it focused on the bombing of Laos from 1964 to 1973 and its deadly legacy. After the video ended, the audience sat there in stunned and sombre silence.

 The video's message had definitely made an impact on them.

The mood then quickly shifted when Steve Rutledge and Mike Yap returned to the stage and did their first presentation of the evening. As always, they did not disappoint. They kept the audience engaged and entertained.

After the intermission, there were a couple of more segments, including a beautiful video about Adopt a Village in Laos by Northumberland Today photojournalist, Ted Amsden, who had ventured to Laos in December 2010.

 The evening wrapped up with a slideshow showcasing the work of Adopt a Village in Laos accompanied by the song "Nella Fantasia".

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