Saturday March 7, Rockstar Music Hall played host to the Fourth Annual International Women’s Day Concert for House of Sophrosyne. The charity event featured several talented local female artists as well as singer/songwriter Sarah Smith from London Ontario. Windsor’s Twisted Sisters (Liz Robinson and Stephanie Baker) opened the show with a lively set of folk/rock covers and were followed in order by married duo The Van Lares, Madelyne Stein, Tara Watts and Smith. There was a healthy turnout throughout the night and many in the crowd were dancing by the end of the evening when rocker Smith encouraged everyone up on the dance floor. There were also several silent auction items donated to help add to the money raised for the event.

I asked organizer Gary Demmans to give me a little background on the event.

Crissi (Cochrane) and I came up with this idea when she was playing one night to have a Women of Music to help celebrate International Women’s Day. This is the fourth year and we have been able to raise approximately $15,000 over the years with around $5000 this year. I thought of House of Sophrosyne because they help women with addictions who have been victims of the sex trade etc.

Executive Director Karen Waddell had this to say about The House of Sophrosyne. We are a charitable organization that has been in the community for 41 years. We provide a continuum of programs and services to those with substance use disorder or those affected by it.  We offer residential treatment, day treatment, family support, supportive housing, aftercare, virtual addiction treatment and even treatment for those involved in justice.  Our programs are designed to help individuals throughout their recovery journey by matching clients to programs with varying degrees of intensity.

Gary was introduced to me through a mutual friend who together we came up with the Women of Music concert fundraiser.  With Gary’s connections to female musicians, he was able to sign up enough volunteer talent to hold our first concert in March 2017 which aligned with International Women’s Day.  We have been hosting this event every year since.

The event, through sponsorship and a minimal entry fee, has been able to raise a total of $15000 from all of Gary’s efforts.  Monies raised from these events have been earmarked for our capital project ‘Building for Recovery’.  The funds are to renovate a former school into a state of the art treatment centre.  This would not have been possible if it weren’t for Gary Demmans’ desire to help and the generosity of the performers all coming together to support the work of the House of Sophrosyne.  I must also mention that Rockstar has kindly offered up their venue the last couple years where the event has taken place.

For information on House of Sophrosyne and how you can support this wonderful and caring organization, please go to

Photos by Dan Boshart

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