Dominik Kurek - Oakville Beaver

Rock legend Tom Cochrane will take up his guitar to help thousands of children and their communities around the world.

The former Oakville resident will do so in Toronto at World Vision Canada’s Put Your Heart Into It music and comedy night on Thursday, June 2.

“We’re going to have a good time that night and hopefully raise a little more awareness and consciousness and hopefully won’t be just preaching to the converted there,” the seven-time Juno Award-winner said. “We’re going to have a great night and people will be missing a pretty special occasion if they don’t come out.”

The event, taking place in The Queen Elizabeth Theatre, will feature performances from a mix of Canadian musicians and comedians, such as Royal Wood, Jarvis Church, Gerry Dee, Krystaal, Suzie McNeil, Colin Mochrie. Cochrane will take the stage for a musical finale with three to five of his songs.

Among the music he plans to play, will be Life is a Highway, for which he got a Grammy Award nomination, along with Dreamer’s Dream and No Regrets.

“Life is a Highway, I wrote after my first trip to Africa back in 89,” Cochrane said. “I wrote it as a response to that in 1990. It was a pep talk to myself that you can’t change the world as a single individual in one fell swoop, but you can kind of spread some goodwill and spread the love along the way and hopefully that ripple effect spreads out like a pebble in a pond. But you’ve got to keep your eye on the road ahead of you. You can’t get distracted by all this other stuff or else, you’ll crash.”

Aside from the well-known hits, he will perform another song he was inspired to write on a trip to Kenya, called On the Road to Mombasa from Nairobi.

During the trip, he visited a family hut that had three generations of women and girls living in it. The grandmother was blind, the mother and one daughter were dying of AIDS, and another daughter was taking care of them all with the help of a World Vision caregiver, named Mercy.

The Put Your Heart Into It performance is part of the World Vision Campaign for Children that aims to find sponsors for 5,000 children.

“World Vision has been hit hard over the last few years, in terms of child-sponsors,” Cochrane said. “They’re trying to increase that awareness and raise a little bit of money at this concert, although that wasn’t the primary objective. The primary objective is to raise more sponsors.”

Cochrane knows full well the importance of child-sponsors and the work it helps do in impoverished countries. He first got involved in helping World Vision in 1988 when he promoted the organization on a radio show. From there, the partnership grew and he’s travelled to various parts of the world with the organization to see its work firsthand. Furthermore, he helps raise the organization’s profile with events such as this one and is proud to do it.

“Even though they do a lot of front line relief work in areas of war zones and natural disasters, their primary way of dealing with world poverty and disease and support of communities is through child-sponsorship and it’s very effective,” he said. “I’ve seen it at work.”

He adds there are numerous organizations that do great work around the world, and World Vision is among the best, which he’s happy to support.

“I’m very lucky I’m in the position to help out and I’m very proud of the work they do. They save hundreds of thousands of lives each year.”

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. General admission is $25. The theatre is located at 190 Princes’ Blvd. inside the CNE Grounds. For tickets, visit