Local Musicians Come Together to Support Music Icon, Bill Merritt

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Members of Winnipeg's music community are joining forces for a special benefit concert for one of their own. On January 14, several local luminaries will come together on stage at the Winnipeg Convention Centre for Bitter Pill, to raise money and support for hometown icon, Bill Merritt.

A great contributor to Winnipeg's music scene, Merritt  was recently diagnosed with a brain tumour after having survived cancer about 17 years ago, when he was given five years to live. The legendary bassist performed with many of Winnipeg's best loved bands from the '60s and '70s, including Mood Jga Jga, Fabulous George and the Zodiacs, and Be Bop Beluga. He was also the general manager for the venerable Winnipeg Folk Festival through its early years into the late '80s, and was a founder of the Winnipeg International Children's Festival.

Presented by the Winnipeg Folk Festival and Norwood Hotel, the benefit concert was officially launched by a group of musicians last month at the Norwood. More than $3,000 in donations were raised from the evening. Acts performing at this month's event include Be Bop Beluga, The Bobcats with Danny Casavant & Bobby White, The Duhks, Fabulous George & the Zodiacs, Graham Shaw & the Sincere Serenaders, Rocki Rolletti, Swing Soniq, and Mood Jga Jga, as well as hosts Al Simmons and Rick Neufeld. All proceeds will go towards supporting the cost of living for Bill and his wife Luci as he undergoes treatment in his current battle with cancer.

Tickets for the event are $20 plus fees, available through Ticketmaster. Donations can also be made online at bitterpill.ca or in person at the benefit concert. The event will also feature silent and live auctions, with prizes including weekend getaways, hotel packages, and Winnipeg rock n' roll memorabilia.

For more event information, please visit bitterpill.ca or check it out on Facebook.  

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