Lawyers rock out to help the hungry at Ottawa Food Bank

Rockable Hours benefit pays tribute to the late Ian Kerr, former law prof at uOttawa and supporter of fundraiser
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Let the record reflect that the quality of live music at Rockable Hours was, at times, so good that you could almost swear — with one hand on the Bible — you were listening to bona fide bands.

In reality, the musicians were either lawyers — individuals who spend their days closing real estate deals, protecting copyrights and trademarks, and, generally, trying to solve clients' problems — or law students from the University of Ottawa.

The popular rock concert benefit returned Friday night to the downtown nightclub Babylon. It attracted a packed crowd of keen supporters and raised $8,550 to help the 39,000-plus people who rely on the Ottawa Food Bank services each month. 

The event has been organized for the past five years by Albert Chang, a lawyer with the Ottawa-based Canadian Internet Registration Authority. The non-profit organization, which oversees all .ca domain names, was a sponsor. So was law firm Gowling WLG.

This year marked the first time Chang, who’s also a bass player, has ever played in the concert. Usually, he’s too busy working behind the scenes.

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Event organizer and local lawyer Albert Chang performed for his first time in Rockable Hours, an annual benefit for the Ottawa Food Bank, held Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, at Babylon in downtown Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Rockable Hours organizer Albert Chang, right, a lawyer with the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, with bandmate and fellow lawyer Shaun Brown at the annual rock benefit for the Ottawa Food Bank, held at Babylon on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Chang stepped in to help the Department of Justice band Caveat Rumpus after it sadly lost its drummer, Ian Kerr, 54, and was down a musician. The popular law professor at the University of Ottawa passed away this past August after months of battling complications from cancer. Kerr was also a founding member of the university’s Centre for Law, Technology and Society.

“Ian was probably one of my biggest supporters,” Chang told OBJ.social. “He used to tell me that he would sell more tickets than all the other bands combined. He probably did.”

Moreover, Kerr was the individual who helped to connect Chang with the law school when he first started organizing the benefit and wanted to get the law students involved. The pair knew each other through their shared interest in music.

There were numerous mentions made of Kerr throughout the evening by the musicians and by emcee Katie Black. The 2019 Forty Under 40 award winner is a partner at a new firm, Edelson Friedman Black LLP, as well as a part-time law prof at uOttawa.

Seen earlier in the evening was Michael Maidment, CEO of the Ottawa Food Bank. Perhaps there will be a musical role for him at a future Rockable Hours concert; he grew up playing the trumpet and flirted briefly with the idea of pursuing a post-secondary degree in music.

Herding Cats was back this year with Gowling WLG lawyer Nathan Piché on vocals, Ben Duchesne, also with Gowling WLG, on guitar, and Martin St-Onge from Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall, on drums. Before becoming a lawyer, Piché was part of the twice Juno-nominated band Article One, from London, Ontario. 

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From left, Herding Cats bandmates Nathan Piché (Gowling WLG), Martin St-Onge (Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall), emcee Katie Black (Edelson Friedman Black), and Ben Duchesne (Gowling WLG) at Rockable Hours, held at Babylon in support of the Ottawa Food Bank on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.
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From left, Ottawa Food Bank CEO Michael Maidment with Rockable Hours organizer Albert Chang, a lawyer with the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, at the annual concert benefit involving local lawyers and law students, held at Babylon on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips 

From the University of Ottawa’s law school was the Style of Cause band, made up of lead singer Klara Danielson, Donny Jackson on drums, Alex Niro on guitar and vocals, Mike Saad on guitar, Kevin Dias on bass, and Nick Twarog on keyboards.

Also from the law school was an alumni band called Copyright Infringement with Emilie Scott on vocals and guitar, Kyle Grant on vocals and bass, and Roger McKee on drums.

Caveat Rumpus also included lead singer Max Binnie, Shaun Brown on guitar, Mat Johnson on drums, and Youri Tessier-Stall on trumpet. On keyboards was Kirk Shannon, whose artistic talents know no bounds — he’s regularly an actor in the annual GCTC/CCLA Lawyer Play benefit.

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Lead singer Klara Danielson, legal intern at The Ottawa Hospital, from Style of Cause at Rockable Hours, held at Babylon in support of the Ottawa Food Bank on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Lead singer Nathan Piché (Gowling WLG) from the band Herding Cats at Rockable Hours, held at Babylon in support of the Ottawa Food Bank on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Youri Tessier-Stall on trumpet with Caveat Rumpus bandmates Max Binnie and Shaun Brown at Rockable Hours, held at Babylon in support of the Ottawa Food Bank on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Copyright Infringement singer Emilie Scott  at Rockable Hours, held at Babylon in support of the Ottawa Food Bank on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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The downtown nightclub Babylon, on Bank Street, was packed for Rockable Hours, an annual benefit concert for the Ottawa Food Bank featuring local lawyers and law students. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Caveat Rumpus singer and Department of Justice lawyer Max Binnie at Rockable Hours, held at Babylon in support of the Ottawa Food Bank on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Ben Duchesne, a lawyer with Gowling WLG, on bass at Rockable Hours, held at Babylon in support of the Ottawa Food Bank on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Department of Justice lawyer Kirk Shannon, who's also a part-time law professor at the University of Ottawa, at Rockable Hours, held at Babylon in support of the Ottawa Food Bank on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Caveat Rumpus singer and Department of Justice lawyer Max Binnie at Rockable Hours, held at Babylon in support of the Ottawa Food Bank on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Style of Cause from the University of Ottawa law school performed at the Rockable Hours benefit for the Ottawa Food Bank, on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Copyright Infringement's Kyle Grant at the Rockable Hours benefit for the Ottawa Food Bank, on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Donny Jackson nailed it on his drum solo at the Rockable Hours benefit for the Ottawa Food Bank, on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Copyright Infringement singer Emilie Scott at Rockable Hours, held at Babylon in support of the Ottawa Food Bank on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Lead singer Klara Danielson from the Style of Cause band seen through the crowd at Rockable Hours, held at Babylon in support of the Ottawa Food Bank on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips

— caroline@obj.ca