Save the date for our 2019 show!
Georgian’s Got Talent . . . or Not! Benefit Concert
Thursday, March 28 and Friday, March 29, 2019
Please bring a non-perishable food item for the Georgian Food Locker program.
Tickets will be available soon!
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 Danielle Belanger, Human Resources Management student, winner of the 2018 Gord Bastian Entrance Award!
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!
Here’s a video of a few acts you won’t be seeing on the benefit concert stage.
$15 – general admission
$10 – for students, seniors, retirees and alumni
DINNER/SHOW TICKETS: Dinner/show tickets are available for both performances. Enjoy a great night out for only $30! Dinner will be in The Last Class. When we know the menu we’ll post it online. Stay tuned!
Reservations are required. To purchase your dinner/show ticket and reserve your seat, please call 705.728.1968, ext. 5275 or email
You can also buy tickets
- Bear Essentials, Barrie Campus
- The Last Class (dinner/show tickets only)
- at the door
Please note: tickets are non-refundable but are transferable.
Nancy Blain – Counsellor, Student Success
Although Nancy Blain has been working at Georgian for over 40 years, she made her first appearance in the show last year as part of JDM (Georgian’s resident house band).
Nancy loves her job. Through her work as a counsellor in Student Services, she supports students on their journey so they can learn to work with, or eliminate, barriers to their success.
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.
Kim VanDusen – Georgian retiree
Kim is now retired, but when she was at Georgian she looked after accounts payable and receivable for the student-run businesses on campus (TLC, Athletics, Student Planner, SAC Activities, The Den), as well as reconciliations for food and beverage inventory and student insurance.
Kim has been involved with every show and we’re happy she’s able to help out now that she’s retired. One of her favourite moments over the years was when Andrea was experiencing a bit of “nervous gas” in the closed coffin before the Thriller opening number. Another favourite was when Kim’s daughter Brittany performed a dance routine with her high school friend from the Dance Team. It was a proud moment – the first ever dance routine in the show.
She believes the show is absolutely great value for your money. Two hours of very talented acts that will make you laugh, sing along, and tap your feet.
Chris Figgures – Faculty, Graphic Design, Web Animation and Design
Chris is in his tenth year as part-time faculty here at Georgian teaching Package Design and Illustration, by hand – and their respective software counterparts.
On top of teaching, he has his own busy design business and moonlights as a musician on weekends. He has his own solo act as well as being a part of a five-piece band performing mainly in the Midland area.
Chris and his wife have three amazing daughters and are non-stop! While his wife is back in school to get her RN, Chris wrangles like a proper Mr. Mom.
This will be his sixth benefit concert.
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 Student Life staff 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.
Steve McDonald – Faculty, General Education, Human Services programs
Steve has been on staff at Georgian since 1992. He was a counsellor in student services, then moved to teaching. Steve has taught in college diploma, college degree, and university degree programs. He is currently lead faculty for General Education on the Orillia campus, and teaches in the human service diploma programs.
Steve has been married for 35 years and is the proud father of three young adult daughters. Steve has been involved in the Variety Show since its inception and is very proud to be a part of it.
When Steve first started performing in the show, his daughters were toddlers, and they would yell from the audience “Yeah Daddy!” whenever he appeared. When they got a bit older, they appeared with Steve in the show. They are now young adults and still like to come and be in the audience. Georgian’s variety show is full of fond family memories for Steve.
Andrea Murray – Welcome Centre Assistant
Andrea will bring her ebullient MC talents to the show stage for the 19th 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 – Communications Specialist
Currently in her 27th 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 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.
Allison Papenhuyzen – International Information Officer
Allison has been at Georgian for 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 third year participating in the show and she plans to continue supporting this fun and amazing fundraising event for Georgian’s students.
Nicolas Rodrigo – Anishnaabemowin and Program Development student
An Anishnaabemowin and Program Development student at Georgian (and a recent Fine Arts graduate), Nicolas Rodrigo loves the arts in their many forms – dance especially. Though he’s mostly inspired by forms of hip-hop, he also incorporates martial arts and yogic techniques into his dancing.
Nicolas believes that dance, like all art, requires constant evolution – an ideal emphasized by the term he calls his style of dance: kinetic art. By removing the names of pre-existing dance forms from his mind and thinking of what he does as art, Nicolas feels freer to explore movement as a whole and less confined to practicing specific styles of dance.
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 23 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.
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.
More performer bios to come!