Photo: Courtesy of Mike Dopsa.
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Hip-hop jazz trio to perform concert for Ottawa drop-in centre

There are many ways that musicians get involved with charity work. Few of these artists, however, tend to get involved with charity through their mothers.

Chester Hansen, the bassist of Toronto-based hip-hop jazz trio BADBADNOTGOOD (BBNG), and his group will be performing a benefit concert hosted by CBC’s Alan Neal on Nov. 14 in support of Centre 507, a drop-in centre in downtown Ottawa for at-risk community members and the connected art studio, Artistic Expressions Studio.

Hansen said that although the group has been meaning to get involved with charity work for a while, an opportunity had not come up for them. When his mother, a volunteer at the centre and studio, asked him if they would be willing to play at a benefit concert for a fundraising event, the boys happily obliged.

“We haven’t really done a whole lot in terms of charity shows, so I thought it would be a really cool thing for us to do,” said Hansen. “So I brought it to the other guys, and they were into it, and that’s how it came about.”

BBNG have been gaining popularity from their humble beginnings as a jazz trio posting hip-hop covers online in 2010. They have worked with everyone from Frank Ocean to Tyler, The Creator, and even collaborated on an album entitled Sour Soul earlier this year with Wu-Tang Clan member, Ghostface Killah.

Recent funding cuts at the drop-in centre and art studio have created the need for the benefit concert. Cosette Vandenberg, a fourth-year anthropology and aboriginal studies student at the University of Ottawa and volunteer at the centre, is hoping that the money raised from the concert will help fill in the gaps that have been formed from these cuts.

Vandenberg volunteers at the Artistic Expressions studio, which gives those using Centre 507 services an artistic outlet to cope with tough experiences they endure, and gives talented artists a place and the supplies to make their art when they are unable to do so by themselves.

“At Artistic Expressions, we provide all the art supplies for some of the people that go to the drop-in. So they can come every second Wednesday and hang out for a couple of hours and do some art,” said Vandenberg.

Vandenberg got involved with the studio through a friend who was volunteering for one of the other programs at Centre 507. Many of the volunteers, including Vandenberg, are artists themselves and they help out the participants by giving tips and answering any questions they have. Sharing her artistic knowledge, however, is not the only thing Vandenberg loves about the studio.

“I feel like as a volunteer, we’re kind of learning too,” said Vandenberg. “We can all learn different things from each other.”

The studio gives artists both a space to practice their artistic skills, as well as a place to find a community of like-minded artists who are experiencing similar difficult experiences and, as Vandenberg said, learn from each other. With the money raised from the concert, the studio is hoping that they will be able to continue to provide services like this for years to come.

The show will be held at Centretown United Church at 507 Bank Street at 8 p.m. on Nov. 14. Tickets will be available for $20 in advance at multiple locations across Ottawa, and at the door. For more information visit


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