If you’re from Kingston (or anywhere in Ontario, really) and you’re a music fan (or even if you aren’t), chances are you have heard of the two local musicians who will be featured in tomorrow night’s international telethon in support of the United Way.

That’s because you’d have to be living under a rock to not know who Paul Langlois or Miss Emily (Emily Fennell) are. The two are some of the most celebrated Kingston musicians, and both are known for lending their talents to a good cause. And that’s precisely what they’ll be doing tomorrow night as they participate in Music Across the Border: A United Way Benefit.

The telethon, taking place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 (Giving Tuesday), will benefit four different United Way organizations across northern New York and eastern Ontario. Like many citizens and organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, WPBS-TV wanted to know how they could help. As a result, the television station came up with a unique initiative to celebrate the talented musicians and artists across northern New York and eastern Ontario while benefiting the United Ways in those regions.

WPBS-TV station came up with a unique initiative to celebrate the talented musicians and artists across northern New York and eastern Ontario while benefiting the United Ways in those regions.

The telethon will benefit the United Ways organizations in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A), Eastern Ontario, Northern New York and Greater Oswego County. The 90-minute special will feature 15 musicians from across these communities, and will be broadcast on WPBS-TV (available in Kingston on Cogeco channel 12, Bell Fibe channel 224, and WTC Communications channel 1153.

In additional to Fennell and the ‘tragically hip’ Langlois, the show will also feature performances by:

  • Joe Bouchard, guitarist/bassist and founding member of Blue Oyster Cult
  • Andy Taylor
  • Keyboardist Noah Landers
  • Guitarist Trevor Gordon Hall
  • Vocalist Donald George and keyboardist Rosemarie Suniga (both faculty members at the Crane School of Music)
  • Harpist Esther Underhay
  • Musican and DJ Craig Foster
  • Violinist Lin Call
  • Artist Wilson Bickford
  • Musical group Smoke and Shadows
  • Musical group Bread and Circuses
  • Musical group Annie in the Water

“Coming together to enjoy great music is one of life’s essential pleasures, and WPBS and great musicians from across our region are working together to offer that experience ‘virtually,’ while at the same time making a contribution to those who need help at this challenging time,” said Mark Prasuhn, President and General Manager of WPBS-TV.

Additionally, the special will feature short video profiled of the work being done by the four United Way organizations and the non-profits they support to provide help to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the telethon, viewers can pledge their support to the United Way online, or by calling into a central toll-free number, which will route their call to the United Way serving their region.

“We are grateful to WPBS-TV for taking on this special initiative and excited to be a part of it,” said Bhavana Varma, President and CEO of the United Way KFL&A. “We are thrilled that Paul Langlois and Miss Emily are performing.  And you can hear from 2019 Campaign Chair and Board Member, Scott Harris, and Director of the Kingston Youth Shelter, Denise Lamb, who will be speaking about the impact of funds raised through our COVID-19 Response Fund. We hope community members will tune in, learn about the impact, and lend their support during this global crisis.”

The local United Way announced their COVID-19 Response Fund on Monday, Mar. 20, 2020. The fund supports agencies and individuals in the following identified key areas (which may grow and change as needs arise):

  • Help for seniors: support and ensure vulnerable people are not isolated
  • Basic needs: access to food and supplies to continue helping the most vulnerable stay healthy
  • Capacity for community services: community partners can continue to do their vital local work
  • Mental health support: system navigation services and counselling
  • Support for volunteers: support the amazing people who support others
Posted: May 3, 2023 Originally Published: May 4, 2020
In this Article Artist(s) Miss Emily, Paul Langlois