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Folkie makes music to combat Parkinson’s


Last Updated: January 18, 2011 1:58pm



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Former London folkie Peter Thompson is back in town this weekend to make music to help battle Parkinson's disease.


Thompson is joined by such new and old friends as Canadian folk icon David Bradstreet and John Pattison of Comedy Network's Puppets Who Kill fame at the London Music Club on Saturday. The show raises money for organizations helping those - more than 100,000 of them in Canada - with Parkinson's.


Now a Barrie-based lawyer, Thompson is one of them.


"I was diagnosed in 2002," the former Lucas secondary-school student and UWO grad says. "It's a daily fight. I get up most mornings and have to crawl until my medicine kicks in." His girlfriend and others are often there to help, but there are other aspects to his fight.


"Parkinson is such a debilitating disease. A lot of people give up. I'm trying to fight it as best I can," he says. Part of that effort is reflected in a documentary film by Brent Stewart "on my coping with PD," Thompson says. The documentary is to be released later this year. A trailer from the film will be part of Saturday's event.


The rest of the night documents the way old friends and new online allies like Bradstreet can join forces for a cause.


"Music and art go hand in hand with staving off Parkinson's," Thompson says.


Helping him do that Saturday is Bradstreet, who connected with Thompson after the Barrie singer covered a Bradstreet song, Renaissance (Let's Dance That Old Dance Once More), on YouTube. A London-tied international star in the 1970s, Bradstreet has a new CD with Carl Keesee, Bradstreet & Keesee. Next month, he's off to Antarctica as artist-in-residence on an expedition ship for five weeks. Bradstreet is back in London on March 11 at Aeolian Hall when he's part of the Smale's Pace folk reunion concert.


Singer-songwriter Edward Moll is a friend from Barrie. Toronto-based Pattison, who also performed on Fraggle Rock, and Mike Hagarty are old friends from Thompson's London folk days during the 1970s and early 1980s. Thompson left in 1986, but has returned for such gigs as the London Lawyers Feed The Hungry fundraisers.


Proceeds from Thompson's Taking A Dive (Head First), a fine folk album released a few years ago, go to the Parkinson Society Canada.


The society and the Michael J. Fox Foundation share proceeds from Saturday's benefit.


The chronic, degenerative brain disorder, was described by Britain's Dr. James Parkinson in 1817. It is estimated more than five million people live with Parkinson's including, stars such as Canadian-raised actor Fox and boxer Muhammad Ali.




What: Benefit concert by former Londoner Peter Thompson, of Barrie. Other performers include David Bradstreet. Proceeds go to Parkinson's research.


When: Saturday, 7 p.m.


Where: London Music Club, 470 Colborne st.


Details: $12. Visit or or call 519-640-6996. Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario: Visit or Call (519) 652-9074 or 1-888-851-7376.


James Reaney is a London Free Press arts & entertainment columnist and reporter.


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Uploaded on January 18, 2011