Just 36 hours before the Nepalese quake, Emmy winner and three-time Grammy-nominated recording artist Toni Childs flew out after launching her new album It’s All A Beautiful Noise at 10,000 feet with a series of free concerts for the people who live on the Annapurna Circuit.
Now back in Australia Toni is part of Rebuild Nepal – a massive fundraising event to help the country get back on its feet.
What was your experience of Nepal before the quake?
Little did we know that our concert on Poon Hill would be a global first. And we would give our sunrise concert on Nepal New Years Day 2072.
Our second day of trekking we walked just less than 19,000 steps. (This would take me eight hours to complete.) And by our trek’s end we would complete a little more than 85km. I would have to say this was the most challenging physical experience of my life, and the most life affirming.
It would turn out we left Nepal 36 hours before the devastating earthquake would hit, leaving us all stunned and concerned with bittersweet feelings for our trip and the Nepal crew we left behind. It took us quite a few days to hear news from our beautiful Nepalese friends. We were told that most of our Sherpas were accounted for, but we are still waiting to hear what has happened to those who lived near the epicentre. We are keeping our fingers and toes crossed. Every one of our Nepal crew we did hear from lost their home, place of business, and villages, but happily their families are safe.
Since our return, I have been busy organising a benefit concert in collaboration with Naren and Sono at the Crystal Castle, BayFM, and the CRN community radio network across Australia, Biggs Sound, Renny Sax Photography, and Oz Tix.
There has been an impressive pulling together of community groups to raise money for Nepal – what do you think this says about our global community?
I love our community! Our shire is filled with world trekkers, activists, inventors, searchers and thinkers! A wonderful giving passionate community.
What are the key objectives of your fundraiser?
It is very important to all of us working on this event that 100 per cent of what is raised goes to the people of Nepal.
Giving goes four ways:
- Tents to Nepal – immediate shelter relief
- Karuna-Shechen – food and medical relief efforts by the monks
- Access Nepal – mental health work
- funds taken directly to people and groups on the ground.
In the case of number four, Sono, Naren (from Crystal Castle) and I will take funds raised to Nepal (travelling at our own expense) in order to assess where the money is most needed, and to ensure the funds get to people on the ground.
Tell me about the concept for Rebuild Nepal and what it is going to look like.
With the active support of BayFM manager Billy Martin, and the Byron Bay community radio station, our benefit concert will be broadcast in full to the local community, and edited down to an hour for national broadcast. The hour broadcast will feature the best of performances of the event, intercut with in-depth on-the-ground commentary such as interviews with the Australian Embassy in Nepal and other people on the ground. Our hour benefit special will be aired nationally on community radio stations across the country. This will give us the opportunity to gather a massive amount of support.
What are the obstacles you envisage for Nepal as the people attempt to rebuild their lives?
I believe the biggest obstacle facing the Nepalese people is rebuilding their homes, businesses, and attracting tourist to Nepal again.
Does the money we contribute make a difference?
YES IT DOES.
What else can we do?
People can give in the following ways:
Buy a ticket to the Rebuild Nepal Benefit Concert at Crystal Castle on Oztix: bit.ly/Rebuild-Nepal-tickets; donate on the mycause Rebuild Nepal site: bit.ly/mycause-rebuildnepal
; or go to our online auction and bid on some wonderful art: charityauctionorganizer.com/auction/rebuildnepal.
You have an online charity auction as part of the fundraiser – can you tell me how that will work and who are the artists donating works?
We are currently inviting artists and galleries around the country to join our effort to curate art from notable artists for our online auction at charityauctionorganizer.com/auction/rebuildnepal and help us get the word out to fine artists and other galleries around the country.
Because the auction is online, it will mean we can keep Rebuild Nepal going for a week or more after the actual event, giving radio stations who want to broadcast our event the flexibility they need to find the right time slot for them and not miss out because of a fixed broadcast date. And this means people tuned into the broadcast will be alerted to the ongoing online auction, giving them the opportunity to make donations and bid on auction items.
We believe this continued traffic will help turn great art into a great help for the people of Nepal.
If you are a gallery or an artist, and would like to donate art for our fundraiser, please send an email to Renae Saxby [email protected] Renae is our auction coordinator and she will be your contact.
What should we expect for the live concert?
People will get to hear some great music from Laura Targett’s debut album Fragile, and my band and I will play music from my new album we debuted on Poon Hill, It’s All a Beautiful Noise. And we have some very special guests still to be announced!
Can you tell me about that magnificent photo? What is happening? Singing the mountains?
Singing on Poon Hill was one of the most incredible experiences of our lives. At one point we were looking at each other and began spontaneously crying tears of joy. What a ridiculously epic moment. I felt like the weight of my voice grew 1,000,000 times greater than itself to fill in the world’s largest natural stadium.
Saturday at Crystal Castle. Gates open from 3pm. Price $25 plus donation. bit.ly/Rebuild-Nepal-tickets