Georgian’s Got Talent Benefit Concert

About the benefit concert

Logo with Benefit Concert and the words "music, comedy, dance"

Get your tickets for this year’s show!

Event postponed

The Georgian’s Got Talent… or Not! Benefit Concert has been posponed.

If you have already purchased tickets, they will be good for the new date. If you wish to get a refund, please contact us and we can make suitable arrangements.

Tickets are available now! Please bring a non-perishable food item for the Georgian Food Locker program.


If you haven’t been to the Barrie Campus lately, you may not be aware of some changes to the parking system.

The parking gates have been removed and there’s a new licence plate recognition system. This means:

  • Parking must be paid for when you arrive on campus

The new payment system is through HonkMobile. There are a few ways you can pay:

  • You can pay for parking online at or by downloading the HonkMobile app
    • create your account
    • select your zone
      • choose any of the $5 zones
    • select your rate
    • enter your payment method
    • enjoy the show!
  • If you’re not comfortable paying online, there will be Honk kiosks in the foyer outside the theatre
    • We will have staff available to help you through the payment process

There are still a few metered spots available outside the library but you will save money by paying through Honk.

…or not!

Georgian’s annual benefit concert is back for another year! We’ve been raising money for financially challenged students for over two decades with this fun event that showcases the talents of our students and staff.

Since its inaugural outing in 1993, Georgian’s annual variety show has been entertaining staff, students and the community while raising money for financially challenged students at the college. Proceeds from the show fund the annual Gord Bastian Memorial Entrance Award – a $1,000 bursary given away to a first-year student. The rest of the proceeds go into a special financial aid fund to help students.

Congratulations to Paxton Klaassen, Graphic Design student, winner of the 2019 Gord Bastian Entrance Award!


Ticket prices

  • $15 general admission
  • $10 for students, seniors, retirees and alumni

There is no dinner/show ticket option this year, but The Last Class will be open prior to the show if folks would like to have dinner beforehand. To reserve for dinner, please call 705.728.1968, ext. 5275 or email Suzanne.

Where to buy tickets

  • Online
  • In person
    • Bear Essentials, Barrie Campus
    • Steve McDonald (Orillia Campus)
    • at the door

Please note: Tickets are non-refundable but are transferable.

Meet the performers

A woman surrounded by crazy costumes smiling at the camera

Donna Armstrong

Assistant, Facilities Management

Donna has always supported the benefit concert as an audience member but is excited to be involved for the first time as a performer in 2019!  She is also excited to have her first gig be with the uber-talented Andrea!

She has worked at Georgiane for 16 years in Georgian Stores and Facilities Management. She is also a member and Secretary of the Georgian Environmental Sustainability Committee.  Most recently, she added Workforce Development training to my portfolio.  She is known by many of her co-workers as someone who likes to make the work day enjoyable and loves to celebrate any occasion, usually by dressing up!

Students are always her number one priority. Georgian’s Got Talent…. Or not, is an opportunity to combine her student focus and her crazy personality. She says it’s fantastic to be a part of this show that directly helps our students financially.

Outside of Georgian, she enjoys camping with the family and friends as much as possible from May to September.  She supports her son and nephew with their competitive curling and is a crazy hockey aunt to her niece. She will take every opportunity to travel and looks forward to her trip to the East Coast every Thanksgiving to visit her daughter and son-in-law.

A head shot of a young black male.

Tolu Bankole

Honours Bachelor of Science (Computer Science Major) Degree Program with Computer Programmer Diploma student

19-year-old Tolu was introduced to music by following his older siblings to their music classes. Because he was too young, they wouldn’t teach him so he sat at a piano, and got bit by the music bug.

He took lessons later that year, then throughout elementary school. He was always involved in the arts because it was a free space to be himself. In high school things really took a turn and he began playing drums, then picked up the guitar, and did some scoring for a dramatic arts performance at school. He was participating in band three times a week and still practising at home. Why? Because there was a sound in his head that he had to get out and express in all musical aspects.

Towards his senior year, he started collaborating with other friends on different musical projects. He got into music production with some software and although he’s yet to release his first single, he’s sure it will be out soon.

Tolu is from Vaughan, Ontario.

Nancy Blain

Nancy Blain


Nancy recently retired from over 40 years at Georgian. She made her first appearance in the show as part of JDM (Georgian’s resident house band).

She enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, gardening, music, walking and learning something new every day. Her retirement plans include travel, and more travel.

Nancy is amazed by the talent at Georgian College and lists “any Andrea moment” as her favourite variety show memory.

A square of four phtoos. Upper right is a black and white head shot of a white man with dark hair. Other shots are him in various costumes.

Doug Crawford

Visual Media and Communications Specialist, Marketing and Communications

Doug’s indoctrination to the show life began on his first day at Georgian. Elaine Murray confronted him asking if he sang, danced or played a musical instrument. Bewildered, Doug replied, “No.” When she asked if he would wear a dress, fearing for his contract and unsure of Elaine’s influence within the college, he acquiesced.

It’s been more than a decade playing roles in two genders, quite often with co-conspiritor Greg Taylor.

Doug says people have no idea the incredible skills Georgian’s staff conceal as they go about their roles. Every year he’s floored seeing the solid qualities exhibited by the cast, hidden from view as they go about their daily official roles, functioning so professionally for the college in their paid positions, and then in this incredible act of volunteering to raise funds for financially challenged students.

A black and white head shot of a white man with short dark hair. He's smiling at the camera.

Chris Figgures

Faculty, Graphic Design, Digital Photography and General Education

Chris is in his 11th year as part-time/partial-load faculty at Georgian teaching at the new Arch and Helen Brown Digital and Design Arts Centre downtown Barrie location. He teaches 3D Environmental Design, Illustration, Photoshop and Image Production. At the Midland Campus Chris also teaches a General Education course called Music in our Lives.

On top of teaching, he has his own graphic design business and moonlights weekly as a live musician. He has his own solo act as well as being a part of a duo called Gibbons & Figgs.

Chris and his wife Andrea have three amazing teenage daughters on top of it all and try to spend as much time as possible together!

This will be his seventh benefit concert.

A women woman staring off to the left

Jasmine Hanratty

Office of the Registrar

Jasmine is returning to the Georgian College Benefit Show stage for her seventh year!  She has previously been in the show as both a student and staff member.  Jasmine is currently working towards her grade 9 voice certification with the Royal Conservatory of Music and she is classically trained.

When she isn’t singing classical music in a variety of languages, you can find her singing in the kitchen, the car, the living room … pretty much anywhere to artists like Kelly Clarkson, Josh Groban, Ed Sheeran, Adele, and maybe even some Weird Al Yankovic.

Jasmine is obsessed with Starbucks, shoes, unicorns, clothes, food and superhero movies.  She hopes to pursue her Masters in Music Therapy upon completing her degree.  She has enjoyed being a part of the show because of the relationships she creates with the other cast members and she loves that all of the proceeds support financially struggling students.  She hopes you enjoy the show as much as she does!

Shona, holding a camera

Shona Klugman

Communications Specialist, International Centre

Shona Klugman, a graduate of Georgian’s graphic design and web design programs, is thrilled to be applying her skills as to this year’s show. Since joining the college over 10 years ago, she has been involved with the show as a performer, committee member and stage assistant. This year she is co-directing.

Shona loves the show tech rehearsals and all the backstage antics that go on behind the curtains. She says the show has a great atmosphere and everybody is there to have a good time. She also says the show has something for everyone – music, singing, dancing and comedy. Everyone she’s encouraged to come to the show has loved it and returned each year since.

Shona plays baseball in the summer and volleyball in the winter. Outside of Georgian, she has her own graphic design business, designing custom invitations and other items.

A man wearing a blue shirt sitting outside

Steve McDonald

Lead Faculty, General Education programs

Steve is a veteran of the benefit concert, having participated since the show’s inception in the early 1990s. He has worked in many departments and campuses at Georgian but is currently lead faculty for General Education at the Orillia Campus, as well as teaching in the Social Service Worker program there.

Steve has always said that his alter ego is that of a singer and actor, and that if he had not been a social worker and professor, he would have been on stage to earn his living. Musically, he likes pop-folk and ballads.

What Steve loves most about doing the show is that it brings members of the Georgian family together from many different departments and campuses, from all ages and backgrounds, to work on a joint project to raise people’s spirits.

Andrea wearing a strange cowboy duck costume

Andrea Murray

Welcome Centre Assistant

Andrea will bring her ebullient MC talents to the show stage for the 20th year in a row this March. Before taking over MC duties in 2000, Andrea started off as Gord Bastian’s sidekick; she still misses him.

Andrea likes to tell people she arrived in Barrie with the tornado in 1985 as a Georgian College student. She stayed because of the people. She enjoyed her time as a Georgian student and says the faculty was amazing.

Outside of her work life, Andrea does a bit of stand-up comedy and was honoured to be asked to perform in Barrie’s inaugural comedy festival last fall. She will be performing in it again this year.

Andrea is a huge supporter of the arts and believes Kurt Vonnegut sums it up best: “The arts are what make life bearable.” She also loves music and belongs to the Barrie Folk Society.

Andrea is passionate about social justice, so if there’s a rally, protest or otherwise, she’ll be there in person, tweeting, flash mobbing or spreading the word. Andrea also has a serious side? she conducts spiritual retreats and teaches an energy medicine technique called Tapping.

Andrea’s favourite show moment was when she lost it during a clogging routine, collapsing on stage in laughter. Her second favourite moment was her near-marriage to her infamous ex, Fill (he was an inflatable doll).

Elaine Murray playing a guitar

Elaine Murray

Communications Specialist

Currently in her 29th year at Georgian – the longest relationship she’s ever had – Elaine works in Georgian’s Corporate Marketing and Communications department.

Outside of Georgian, Elaine’s life revolves around music. A founding member of the Barrie Folk Society, she helps spread the word about folk music, as well as convinces those who claim not to like folk music that they really do. Elaine also plays guitar and piano, and has penned a few tunes of her own. She’s also excited about a recent project called People of Barrie and encourages people to check it out.

Elaine is an avid (or some would say rabid) fan of Bruce Springsteen. With 21 Springsteen concerts under her touring belt, she’s seen the inside of some of the finest arenas in North America, including those in Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Cleveland, New York, New Jersey, Boston and Hershey. Her dream is to see a Springsteen show in Europe – because that’s where the “real” fans go.

Elaine has been involved with the benefit concert since its inception. Recruited in her first year at Georgian by Gord Bastian to help backstage, she fell in love with the show and everything it stands for – helping students and showcasing talent at Georgian. She’s worked her way up through the ranks from backstage assistant to director. On stage she’s been everything from a hockey player, cheerleader and lumberjack, to a heavy metal singer and Britney Spears.

If anyone would like to be involved in a future show – whether performing, backstage or on the committee – please have them contact Elaine.

Learn more about this Springsteen fan on her blog.

A smiling woman with long dark hair

Allison Papenhuyzen

International Information Officer

Allison has been at Georgian for over 10 years in the Office of the Registrar providing customer service to our international students. She has also been involved in many of the community events for students. She also has a passion for health and wellness and a desire to help others.

She has her degree in Fine Arts from York University and has a hidden talent for singing and dancing, and loves listening to all genres of music. This is her fourth year participating in the show and she plans to continue supporting this fun and amazing fundraising event for Georgian’s students.

an older bald white man with a gray goatee. He's wearing a blue, red and white checkered shirt.

Ken Rush

Graphic Design faculty

Now in his 22nd year year teaching at Georgian, Ken is among the Graphic Design program’s faculty at the Arch and Helen Brown Design and Digital Arts Centre . . .  AKA the downtown Barrie location.

Ken has a lifelong passion for music of many genres including jazz, baroque, opera, classical, and classic rock. He rose to local infamy playing the club, festival, backyard, and bush-party circuit of East Gwillimbury in the mid 1980s.

Ken moved to Barrie in 1994 to start a career and family, and is also a Georgian alumnus. When he’s not teaching typography, design studio, or various Adobe Creative Suite software, you’ll find him riding, modifying, maintaining, and tinkering with motorcycles of all kinds.

This is Ken’s second appearance in the Georgian’s Got Talent (or not!) benefit concert.

A young female with dark long hair sitting in front of a piano; there are guitars on either side of her

Jade Schouwstra

Fine Arts student

Jade is 21 years old and was born and raised in Barrie. She is also a self-taught musician. Her main instrument is the ukulele which she has been playing for almost three years now. She also plays guitar and has started to dabble with piano.

Music has been in her life ever since she could remember. It’s her way of letting her feelings out, along with her art. She started singing when she was in high school in the choir. She was then a part of an “invite-only” choir, where she really learned how to use her voice. Not a day goes by where she’s not singing, although her shower head has heard her sing more than she’s been on stage.

She loves to perform, and is super excited to continue jumping on stage! It’s her and her ukulele against the world.

A male with dark hair and a beard posting against a beige wall

Gregory Shanahan

ONEcard Clerk

Gregory is Georgian’s ONEcard Clerk — he prints all the cards, helps plan their social media content, and designs some of the posters and ads you’ll see around campus or playing on the TV outside your office. If you call or email the ONEcard office for support, he’s probably the one you’ll talk to.

He was born and raised in Barrie. Gregory studied music at the University of Guelph before completing a graduate certification in Communications and Professional Writing here at Georgian. He plays classical and fingerstyle guitar, and teaches private lessons.

This is his first year in the show and he’s going to play “Vincent” by Don Mclean, an ode to the painter, Vincent Van Gogh and perhaps his most famous work, The Starry Night.


Greg Taylor

Counsellor, Student Success

I help students. . . and staff – mostly with mental health issues and also academic issues. I have worked at Georgian for 25 years.

I grew up in Barrie, left for 15 years, moved back, and Elaine told me about a job posting at Georgian. I applied and lo and behold, they hired me!

I live in Barrie and have the best wife on the planet, two young children that keep me “young” and a standard poodle named Sunny. I consider myself a pretty creative guy and LOVE creating things: with students I help, in workshops I put together, songwriting, and making comedy.

I have been involved with the show since starting at Georgian in 1996. It’s something I look forward to every year. I’ve had many favourite moments but one big favourite was when my daughter Grace first came to see me in the show. She was near the front and I was doing a goofy skit with Doug Crawford (surprise, surprise). We came into the theatre from the front door and down the middle stairs towards the stage. Grace got up and started waving frantically at me, saying, “hey dad, I’m here!” like no one else was in the room. I tried to stay in character.

The show is a delightful way to be entertained for a night, and it’s for a great cause. I’m still not ready to give up my day job yet, although I thought the “Give Where You Live” video was the launching pad.

More performer bios to come!

Photos and videos

We have more photos and videos on our Facebook page. Make sure you share and like the page when you get there. It will keep you up-to-date on everything that’s happening and we appreciate the extra promotion!

dancers on stage

Emceed by the talented and funny Andrea Murray, the show builds on its successful formula of song, comedy and dance. Showcasing many of Georgian’s talented students and staff, we guarantee that no one will leave disappointed!

A woman wearing a crown

Here’s few acts you likely won’t be seeing on the benefit concert stage.

Gord Bastian

Gord Bastian Show annual fundraiser for students at Georgian College

In 1993, the first Georgian College Variety Show was held and with its debut, one of Gord’s dreams was born. Gord was a long-time Georgian employee who worked in a variety of departments at the college including Hospitality and Tourism and Shipping. It was Gord’s idea to present a show to showcase the talents of Georgian staff and students, while at the same time raising money and lifting spirits during the cold winter months.

He always felt his musical abilities were a gift from a higher power – a gift he felt a duty to share. Whether for sheer enjoyment, to help out a good cause or to just brighten one’s day, he gave of his talents freely and without reward. Gord always felt it was one’s duty to give back to the community that offered so much to each person within it, and this show offered him that opportunity.

Gord passed away in the spring of 1999 but the committee has continued to present the show in his honour.