News Local

Blaine excited for round three

By Ryan Paulsen, The Daily Observer

Submitted photo
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Country star Jason Blaine will be bringing his popular Celebrity Charity Golf Classic back to Pembroke on June 14 and 15 at the Pembroke Memorial Centre and the Pembroke Golf Course.

Submitted photo
Country star Jason Blaine will be bringing his popular Celebrity Charity Golf Classic back to Pembroke on June 14 and 15 at the Pembroke Memorial Centre and the Pembroke Golf Course.

The Ottawa Valley's most star-studded charity event is coming back to Pembroke.

For the third year in a row, Pembroke's own country music star Jason Blaine brings his Celebrity Charity Golf Classic to the Pembroke Memorial Centre and Pembroke Golf Club, this time on June 14 and 15.

"I'll be honest, I'm anxious about it every year," admits Blaine. "I've been anxious about it from the get-go, but the outpouring of support from the community, and in particular from the business community, has been amazing right from the start. I kind of had a goal for myself of raising 10 or 20 thousand, but we raised $50,000. The next year, I was a little worried we weren't going to match it, but we raised $75,000."

Although the wild monetary success of the first two years have set an impressive precedent for the event, Blaine takes a more holistic approach to his definition o success for the event.

"Our goal was never to keep topping ourselves every year. That's not the goal of the event. Whether we do or don't, that's not how we measure success. We measure success by if we were able to contribute back to the community in a meaningful way. We just try to do the best we can every year, and put on a world class event in Pembroke, and so far, so good."

As in previous years, the response from the community has been impressive and enthusiastic, with many of the high-profile sponsorship opportunities already scooped up by local businesses and individuals.

"It is going very well. We have a very limited number of sponsorships left, and they're on my website, and we definitely encourage anybody in the business community who's interested in getting behind this event to go check it out. We welcome the support as always."

In particular, Blaine wants to thank this year's presenting sponsor.

"We're thrilled to have Eastway back again this year for the third year as the presenting sponsor."

It may be his name on the banner, but Blaine is quick to give credit where do, and thanks the dedicated team of committee members who work away on the event in Pembroke back home in Nashville.

"The whole thing has been amazing right from the get-go. I have an amazing committee, and I could not have done any of this without them. They really are the boots on the ground."

One aspect that is entirely in his wheelhouse, however, is lining up his celebrity friends to lend their musical talents and star power to the gala event.

"One of the biggest sources of stress is lining up the celebrity guests, because that's all on me, but having the guests we've got this year is gonna be a big win."
Joining Blaine on stage for Tuesday night's gala concert will be Jason McCoy, Dallas Smith and The Western Swing Authority.

McCoy's many music awards include a male vocalist of the year nod from the CCMAs in 2001 and a CMA global artist award in 2006. He has performed and recorded extensively both solo and as a member of the band The Road Hammers. Smith "Jumped Right In" (the title of his first solo country album) to the Canadian and American country music scenes in 2012 after a successful early career phase as front man for Canadian alternative rock band Default.
Bringing together successful working musicians, juggling schedules and arranging logistics for celebrity guests can be a daunting task, says Blaine, but being a close-knit community definitely has its advantages.

"That's what I love about the country music community: we're friends first and we just help each other out when we can. I love that spirit of camaraderie."
Once more this year, the list of local beneficiaries of however much money is raised by the concert and tournament will include the capital campaign of Algonquin College Waterfront Campus, the Pembroke and Are Boys and Girls Club, the Pembroke Petawawa District Community Foundation, and a $5,000 contribution for the training of local first aid mental health responders.

"This year we're proud to announce that we're contributing to the local food banks," adds Blaine, "which I'm told are this year in desperate need for cold, hard cash more than anything. They're always, of course, in need of non-perishable food, but it's the perishable foods that they need as well, so we're hoping to make a meaningful contribution to that great cause."

Tickets for the event will be available soon, though an exact sale start date won't be announced until next week. Details will be made public on Star 96 FM and on the event's Facebook page. Once on sale, tickets will be available at the Pembroke Memorial Centre box office.

As if putting together another massive charity event wasn't enough, Blaine is also gearing up for an appearance at the upcoming Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) Awards 2016 ceremony, scheduled for May 30th in Markham. Blaine leads the running with six nominations, for fan's choice, male artist of the year, single of the year, video of the year, songwriter of the year and producer of the year. He has also recently released a new single and accompanying video from his latest album, Countryside. The song, Dance With My Daughter, was inspired by his own daughters, who both feature in the video, which is available on YouTube.

"I'd love for everyone to check it out and let me know what they think," says Blaine.

rpaulsen@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/PRyanPaulsen