Faced with the devastating loss of their son, a Leduc family determined they would create something beautiful out of the terrible tragedy.

Thaddeus Lake always had a passion for music. He had been a member of The Maddigans, a local band, and was very active in the musical community here in Leduc.

He was also very conscious of the responsibility that comes with privilege and actively looked for ways to give something back.

For three summers, Thad volunteered with The Mavericks, a group of oil workers from Calgary who raise money to support various children’s charities.

According to his father Tony, Thad was very impressed with the group and the work they did, the way they shared their wealth and privilege with those less fortunate.

Last fall Thad began talking to his parents about his dream of starting a foundation to provide musical instruments and music lessons to disadvantaged youth in the Leduc area.

“He was pretty intent on it,” Tony said. “(The Mavericks) inspired him and music was his passion. The foundation was going to be his focus.”

When Thad was killed by a drunk driver on November 26th, 2011, along with two of his friends, the family decided they would make the Thaddeus Lake Music Foundation his legacy.

“We knew exactly what we needed to do,” Tony said, adding that they acted right away to get the foundation set up so they could officially collect donations at Thad’s funeral.

It couldn’t have been easy for the family, looking past their shock and grief to get the foundation started and turn Thad’s dream into a reality, but Tony said they didn’t want to let the moment pass them by.

The community response was immediate and donations started pouring in.

Thad’s friends arranged a benefit concert in January and news of the foundation spread, thanks to word of mouth and the foundation’s Facebook page.

Thad’s original idea was to provide disadvantaged youth with musical instruments and music lessons they couldn’t otherwise afford.

His family has collaborated with local musicians and Leduc Music Scene to expand that mandate in a very unique and creative way.

Tony explained that one of the biggest hurdles for young musicians is finding opportunities to perform and showcase their talent. It can be especially challenging for young rock groups, alternative bands and others whose music might not be considered suitable for churches, schools or community events.

Renting a venue is expensive, Tony said, so the foundation helps by fronting the cost of the facility rental, with the caveat that the money will be returned to the foundation after the performance.

The foundation is aimed at helping 11 to 22 year olds living within the boundaries of the Black Gold Regional School Division. Not that they are excluding kids who attend private or separate schools, Tony explained, they are just using the public school division boundaries as a guideline.

As of April 2012, less than five months after Thad’s death, the foundation had already raised about $26,000 and delivered three awards, with a fourth in the works.

As well, Tony said Thad’s bedroom is now crammed full of donated musical instruments.

“I think he’d be stoked, absolutely stoked,” Tony said, imagining Thad’s reaction to all of this. “He’d be happy to sleep standing up.”

While attending this year’s Leduc Black Gold Rodeo events, keep an eye out for Thaddeus Lake Music Foundation hats from Stitchery and More and visit their booth at the Trade Fair.

All money raised from the sale of these hats goes to the foundation.

The Waldorf Hotel in Leduc is also supporting the foundation.

Throughout the Leduc Black Gold Pro Rodeo week, the Waldorf will have a “No Hat, No Bandana, No Service” policy.

Only those who purchase a special rodeo hat or bandana will be allowed on the premises. Plus, the hotel will hold 50/50 draws every day, from the Kick-off Party on Thursday, May 31st to Saturday, June 2nd.

All proceeds from these fundraisers will go to the Thaddeus Lake Music Foundation. According to Brenda, an employee at the Waldorf Hotel, they always pick a charity to support during Rodeo Week and this year the Thaddeus Lake Foundation “just touched my heart,” she said.

“When I understood that this program is for kids who want to take music and can’t afford it … For the family, to take something bad and do something good with it is a part of their healing.”

Anyone interested in donating money or instruments or applying for an award can contact the Thaddeus Lake Music Foundation by e-mailing thadsfoundation@me.com

To access "Thaddeus Lake Music Foundation" face book page, go here.

Source: Gateway Gazette


Last updated on: 2012-07-18 | Link to this post