Benefit show for Sun Media writer

JASON MacNEIL - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:18 AM ET

TORONTO - Earlier this year this newspaper lost a young talent, a great friend, a bubbling personality and reportedly a Starbucks tea addict.

But family, friends and colleagues of the late Sherri Wood have joined forces to create a benefit concert in her honour: Sherri Woodstock. A Facebook page celebrating the event already has 300 members.

"The idea came the day of her funeral while a whole bunch of Toronto Sun people and whole bunch of friends and family were sitting in an Irish pub," Sherri's mom Debbie Wood says. "It was actually mentioned at her funeral by (former Sun television critic) Bill Brioux that we should have a musical event in her honour called Sherri Woodstock."

The concert, which takes place Oct. 5 at the Opera House, didn't take long to get off the ground. But Debbie says she had one main goal in mind.

"My No. 1 priority with this is that it's just a party and that we're just celebrating her life there and everybody is going to have a really good time and a lot of fun," she says. "With her friends and her co-workers stepping up to the plate it's been like a team effort. Obviously, under her situation and the brave journey that she took, I think everybody just wants to get together and have fun."

Aaron Sawyer, a friend of Sherri's and one of the concert's co-organizers, says the lineup represents a wide array of her favourite genres and groups she supported. The lineup includes a performance by Classic Albums Live doing Led Zeppelin, Five Blank Pages, Franky Moonlight, Dani Strong, The Overtones and Sawyer's band The Little Millionaires.

"Sherri has a lot of friends who are very talented musicians and we've all never actually played together before," Sawyer says. "We wanted to fill out the bill with an eclectic roster that would really represent all sides of her because anybody who knows Sherri knows she had very eclectic music tastes."

Both agree that there haven't been many huge logistical problems in setting up the concert for Sherri, who passed away March 24 after an 11-month battle with cancer at age 28.

"It has not really been that difficult at all because we all have the exact same driving force and motivation to put on something that we would all be proud of and that Sherri would be proud of."

Debbie says the money raised from the concert will go toward education in helping students pay for university through scholarships. She also says she'd like to perhaps purchase a truck for a food bank to "really make a bang out there."

And while both say Sherri will be watching the event from on high, Debbie believes her daughter is probably shocked that her mom is putting this together.

"I think she would just sit there and probably be looking at me saying, 'What are you doing? How did you ever take this on?' " Debbie says with a laugh. "I'm not quite as joyful a personality as she was. She would be saying, 'What have you gotten yourself into?' But I know that she would be loving it. I see it like a little community of Sherri lovers and even the

people who didn't meet her will have a good time."

Given the fact her last concert review was of Brooklyn band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, there's a good chance Sherri would want you to do just that at the show.

"It will definitely be the musical event of the year," Debbie says. "But then again I'm her mom."

Tickets for the show are $20 with taxes included and are available through the website Ticketpro.ca. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m.

And be sure to get your tickets early as they're going faster than a Starbucks tea would've in Sherri's hand.

Well, almost as fast.


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