Inspiration Guelph – Supporting Youth and Children in Music, Dance and Visual Arts

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By Lisa Browning

Inspiration Guelph 2019 takes place on November 7. In anticipation of what is always an awesome event, I conducted the following interview with Founder and Chair, Brenda Gibson.

LB: What is Inspiration Guelph?
BG: Inspiration is a concert held in November that brings together professional and local talent for an annual performance that raises money for children and youth in Guelph and Wellington County.

Madison Galloway Music. Winner of the Battle of Performers. Photo credit: Inspiration Archives

LB: When did it start?
BG: The first Inspiration concert took place in 2013. Joseph Macerollo and Adrian Raso were two of the first professionals to participate alongside over 300 children and youth.

LB: Why did it start?
BG: In the past children were given music and arts opportunities throughout their years in school. As a result of the education cutbacks in the schools, there are often teachers teaching the arts that have little or no background in that area. The result of this educational change is that children who can’t afford lessons outside of school but have a talent in the arts are not being given the opportunity to succeed. Inspiration helps to provide funding for grants to bridge that financial gap.

LB: Were you involved from the beginning?
BG: Yes, I am the founder and chair of Inspiration.

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Brenda Gibson and Justin Hinds. Photo credit: Inspiration Archives

LB: What was your motivation in creating this event?    
BG: In addition to the reasons I gave for starting the event, the research in the child development area clearing demonstrates the benefits of the arts in subjects such as math, science, social skills, etc. Although I competed internationally as an athlete, I know that if you have 500 kids in a school, only 15 of those kids make a school team. That leaves 485 kids without an outlet for their development or a way to feel included. The arts allow everyone to participate and advance at their own pace.

LB: Has the format stayed the same?
BG: The basic format of professional and local talent has remained the same since the beginning, but how we arrive at the lineup for the evening has changed.

LB: What changes have taken place over the years?
BG: We have slowly developed a solid sponsorship group, and as the sponsorships increase we are able to bring in more popular professional musicians.

LB: What is the major change for the 2019 event?  
BG: The major change for 2019 was adding the “Battle of Performers” to select the local talent. The “Battle of Performers” had artists submit a video or MP3. From the submissions 6 finalists have been selected to compete live on Sept 7. The winner receives a) the opening act spot for this year’s headliners (Virginia to Vegas and Tyler Shaw), b) $1,000 cash, c) the opportunity to perform an original song on Magic 106.1 FM, and d) signed memorabilia.

LB: How can people get involved?
BG: People can get involved by being a sponsor, volunteering the evening of the concert, attending the concert, or donating tickets for kids who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend; and of course follow and share with Inspiration Guelph on all our social media posts, as well as donate a silent auction item. Information and links can be found on our website at

LB: When and where will tickets be available?     
BG:The tickets are on sales at the River Run right now! You also can follow the links purchase or donate tickets on our web or the Magic 106.1 FM web.

LB:What is your hope for this year’s event?
BG:It is always our hope to sell out the River Run and raise as much money as possible for children and youth to participate in the arts. With this year’s incredible lineup we expect the tickets to sell out fast!

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