I can still clearly remember the day I suggested to my wife Theresa Bodger that we organize a music trivia fundraising tournament for the Alzheimer Society of BC.
Back in May of 2013, we were sitting on our deck enjoying a beautiful day when the thought crossed my mind to combine my passion for remembering song titles and artists and continually learning new ones with the opportunity to raise money for a great cause.
My family had done music trivia tournaments before, but just for fun. The chance to combine that with a charity seemed appealing.
At the time, Theresa’s mom Georgina Falt was in care for Alzheimer’s disease and we knew the effects were taking a toll and her time was limited. We thought Alzheimer’s was certainly under served by fundraisers compared to other diseases so we knew that’s where we wanted to direct our attention.
With the blessing of Theresa’s dad Albin Falt, we managed to set up a small tournament for September of 2013 at the Fuller Lake Arena banquet room. We had hoped Georgina could be there to make the presentation of the proceeds to the society, but she sadly lost her battle with the disease in July that year and it became a memorial tournament in her honour and for so many others impacted by dementias.
The tournament subsequently moved to the Duncan Community Lodge and then to the Duncan Curling Club for more space as it grew. Saturday marked our 10th anniversary and was also our 11th tournament (we actually put on two during one year).
It’s hard to fathom we raised another $14,000 and our grand total since inception is now bordering on $90,000.
If we’d known back in 2013 what was going to transpire we would have been flabbergasted.
But here we are. It’s been a remarkable ride. We’ve raised the funds we desired, of course, but also made many great friendships with people of like minds and renewed acquaintances with those we hadn’t seen for a while.
The bottom line of making so much money for the society from the tremendous participant and business sponsor support we’ve received from the community is one thing. But it’s also just such a fun activity that people enjoy doing, judging by all the smiling faces we saw in the crowd Saturday. And it’s a great exercise for the brain in keeping with the Alzheimer’s theme.
Some people have come and gone over the years, but we’ve picked up new ones along the way and have a loyal following of players who’ve been with us from the beginning.
And the fact so many travel to Duncan for the event from other communities on the Island – and even a few from the Lower Mainland, like my cousin Kathy and her daughter Lindsay – makes it even more special. We have players from Victoria, a lot from Nanaimo and even a couple from Courtenay.
We managed to keep it going through two years of COVID with a game over the email that I devised. It didn’t match the real thing, but we couldn’t let it go.
Our regulars were most anxious for a return to the good old days, especially a Nanaimo group also playing in memoriam for Frank Hanna, who’s known around the Island as the guru of music trivia and certainly provided inspiration for the creation of our tournament. He died in April of 2020 and another music trivia tournament in his honour is being planned for January 2023 in Nanaimo.
“It was really wonderful to be back at the first in-person music trivia event in a few years,” said Colette Dame of Nanaimo.
She was Hanna’s right-hand person for many years at music trivia in Nanaimo and the ringleader of the Potluckers team that’s been the champions of our event many times, with only a blip in 2019 when Jeff Harrison’s crew wrestled the title away.
“There were a lot of very talented and knowledgeable teams that we competed against,” added Dame. “We were really excited when first place was announced and we found out that we had won. While the win was thrilling, it was also bittersweet because this was the first tournament without our beloved teammate and mentor Frank Hanna. He would have been proud that his passion for music has carried on within us and so many others.
“The best part of the tournament though was about raising money for a very important cause such as the Alzheimer Society of BC. Many of us have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease in one way or another through family or friends. Our team and all the others that participated sincerely appreciate the efforts of those involved with putting on this enjoyable event. We are all looking forward to the next Georgina Falt Memorial Music Trivia Tournament fundraiser for Alzheimer’s.”
Amen. So are we.