Peace Arch News

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BW_headback2Supporting Semiahmoo Family Place

Alex Browne
May 27, 2008


Lee Aaron isn’t singing the blues about the role of wife and motherhood.

“Life is good,” says the mother of two, and she means it.

Aaron, who has long transcended an early typecasting as Canada’s ‘metal queen’ to become a jazz and jazz-pop performer of international repute, still maintains a busy schedule of casino shows and festivals across Canada, playing for fans both old and new.

This summer alone, the South Surrey resident is booked for a string of dates in major centres in Alberta and Ontario, as well as the famed annual classic rock festival in Minnedosa, just outside Winnipeg.

So what is she bringing her intimate jazz show at Semiahmoo House as a fundraiser for Semiahmoo Family Place?

It’s all about the successful balance she maintains between her professional life and home life, and her recognition of the value of the community-based organization, she said.

Semiahmoo Family Place provides a safe, semi-structured place for children to play, socialize and make new friends, while their parents can meet and network with like-minded parents and caregivers and stay connected to parent workshops and other resources in the community.

“I think it’s a wonderful organization – it’s the only parent-run centre of its kind in B.C.,” said Aaron, who has a daughter, Angella (turning four) and a son, Jett (two) with her husband, drummer John Cody.

“The women on the board of Family Place are amazing – bright, intelligent people who’ve knocked themselves out to keep it going.

“It’s invaluable as a resource to families. I’ve personally used the resource, and I think it’s a wonderful place for community nurturing and learning.”

But Family Place doesn’t run itself, Aaron added.

“It doesn’t sustain itself on drop-in fees,” she said.

“It’s necessary to have a program of fundraising events.”

A previous jazz concert by Aaron on the organization’s behalf a year and a half ago proved successful, she said.

“When they approached me to see about doing it again, I said I’d love to,” Aaron said.

“And a number of sponsors have come on board, including the Peace Arch News and Semiahmoo House Society.”

In addition to Aaron’s classy vocalizing with a stellar group of sidemen, including Cody, keyboardist Tilden Webb, bassist Brent Gubbels and tenor saxist Graham Howell, the evening will also offer a silent auction of donated goods and services, plus a chocolate buffet and chocolate fountains.

“I think they had me at chocolate,” Aaron laughed.

Patrons shouldn’t expect a medley of her heavier rock hits, she warned.

“I don’t think the venue would support my rock band – plus it wouldn’t work with the atmosphere of the event,” she noted.

These days, she’s also in demand as a speaker, she said, adding that she will be addressing the Enterprising Moms’ Network Business Summit, June 4 at the Four Seasons hotel in Vancouver (for more information, visit www.leeaaron.com).

“I’ve been running my own business for years, so I don’t think I’ll be talking about starting up a business as a mom,” she said.

“I think the focus of my speech will be everything I did wrong in the music business at the beginning, how I started my own business to correct those things, and how you fit your business into the rest of your life once you have kids.”

Priorities shift overnight once you have children, Aaron said.

“I cherish my children. It’s the biggest privilege in the world to teach them and be able to raise them.”

That – and her busy working schedule – has made her value the resource of Semiahmoo all the more, she said.

Although Aaron said she is frequently approached to do fundraisers, she limits the number to a few each year.

“I have two rules about doing charity events,” she said.

“I would never want to do anything where I’m promoting myself, first – it has to be about the event. And it has to be something I really believe in.

“This is a real grassroots community thing. When I was younger, I never got to be involved in things like this – it was far more corporate.

“I’m so happy to be a part of it.”

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