MusicFest Concert Series

Cumberland Hotel

This concert has already happened. You might want to check out our upcoming shows.

Jesse RubenA Powerful Coming Together

It started last year when Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary did some class work around a project they called “I Can” with the goal of making the world a better place. Teachers and students at Ecole Puntledge Park found the project so powerful, that the staff committed to making it the school’s theme for 2013.

It was Puntledge teacher Doug David who discovered singer songwriter Jesse Ruben’s song “We Can” and introduced it to the staff. There was an instant connection, and the school embraced the song and adopted it as their theme for their “I Can” project. The Principle and teachers of Ecole Puntledge Park were so inspired by the song that they created a music video and presented it to the students on the first day of school to motivate them and get them talking about what they dream of doing.

When Jen Turner, a Grade 4/5 teacher at Ecole Puntledge Elementary contacted Jesse it was to thank him for his music. In her letter to Ruben she wrote; Your song was not only inspiring to the teachers, it has built an amazing confidence in the children to not only celebrating their “cans”, but also their future goals and dreams, and what they can we do to help in our school, community, world. Again, thank-you for writing a song that inspires people young and old.

In that letter Turner found the courage to asked Jesse if he would consider coming to Courtenay to share his message and music further with the kids at Puntledge and the community. To the surprise and delight of all involved, Jesse said yes.

When asked why he agreed to Turners request Ruben wrote; I am fortunate that almost every day, people thank me for my work and my contribution. As a writer, to know that I am making a difference is an incredible gift and honour. So when I found out that there was not only a school but also an entire district that had been moved by the concept of “We Can”, there was no question that I had to see it for myself. In my profession, we go where we are wanted. I cannot wait to meet the children and teachers who have taken my tiny little song and turned into a source of community and connectedness. It is something I never dreamed of when I was writing it, and I’m sure it is an experience I will treasure forever.

Those words motivated everyone at Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary. They now have individual “I Can” projects, class projects, and school projects, on the go. So far the school delivered 500 pounds of food to the food bank in December, and created care package/Christmas presents for every homeless person in the Valley. Every student in Ecole Puntledge Park has also adopted the EDAS Project (Everyone Deserves a Smile campaign).

This powerfully inspirational story also got the attention of the Vancouver Island MusicFest staffer Cresslynn Fay “It is a remarkable thing and another example of the power of music,” said Fay. “So we’re going to help by presenting Jesse Ruben in concert with proceeds going to help cover the expenses of Jesse’s trip.”

This concert will take place at the Cumberland Hotel, Thursday, January 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets $20.00 and on sale at the Cumberland Hotel, 250-336-8844 or on line

Jesse Ruben Bio

Jesse Ruben is a Philly-bred singer/songwriter currently living in Brooklyn, NY. He has independently sold over 10,000 albums, gotten song placements on TV shows such as One Tree Hill, Degrassi, and Teen Mom and toured with some amazing artists including Jewel, KT Tunstall, Rick Springfield, and Hanson. His song “We Can” is in regular rotation on the XM/Sirius Coffeehouse channel, which called him “the next generation of singer/songwriter”.

Ruben has sold out venues across the US with deeply personal performances that combine well-crafted pop songs with the stories they came from. Most recently, he achieved one of his greatest life goals when he hit the 5,000 Facebook friend limit, because it makes him feel cooler than he actually is.

Beyond musical endeavors, Ruben is highly involved with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the largest non-profit focusing on spinal chord injury and paralysis. He is a co-chair of their Champions Committee, and has represented them three times in the NYC Marathon.