When Shania Twain’s performance ended Saturday night at the Charlottetown Event Grounds, fans exited the grounds and headed home, their heads full of memories they will carry with them for a long time to come.
For most of them, the night was over, save for those who decided to cap the night off at a local bar.
But it was not over for Twain.
Instead of heading back to her hotel room, kicking off her shoes and winding down, Twain headed for the Redwater Rustic Grill at the Holman Grand Hotel to meet with fans who support her charity, Shania Kids Can.
Shania Kids Can was established by Twain to implement simple but efficient initiatives to increase equality in chances for kids in the program facing various difficulties.
The program, which is geared towards underprivileged children, is in place in several schools in Canada at this point and will be going into several others.
“I want to thank everyone for supporting this very special charity,” Twain said. “We’re having a modest success with it, it’s expanding and growing thanks to people like yourself. We have four schools going at the moment, three in Canada and one in Las Vegas … We have three more opening in Canada, in Toronto, Regina and Vancouver. We’re really excited about that. We’ll be opening them before the end of this year.”
Twain said she established the foundation as a way of giving back to the community.
“It was a dream of mine as a child. I always promised myself that if I ever made it some day that I would give back to kids like myself … I wanted to save people who were very much like myself.”
She said seeing her foundation grow and expand, helping kids who are growing up dealing with the same kinds of challenges she faced as a kid in Timmins is very rewarding for her.
She signed autographs for some very excited fans, one of whom, Shallen Jackson, a 34-year-old Nova Scotia woman with Down Syndrome, was so excited she almost pushed her father out of the booth to get a hug from her.
“Get out of the way, Dad,” she said to her father, Jerry.
Jerry Jackson said his daughter had not slept in days she was so excited at the thought of seeing her idol and that she was simply over the moon about her show and getting the chance to meet her in person.
Twain’s warmth, kindness and generosity of spirit charmed everyone in the place.
Asked how she felt about her show in Charlottetown, Twain said she had a lot of fun here.
“I went out there to party, I hope everybody was happy, they sounded happy, everybody was really excited, the weather was gorgeous, the wind was blowing the right way. It couldn’t have been better.”
Country music superstar Shania Twain chats with 34-year-old fan Shallen Jackson during a small meet-and-greet after Saturday’s concert. Jackson, who has Down Syndrome, travelled from Halifax with her parents, Jerry and Donna, to see her idol perform in Charlottetown.
©Guardian photo by Mitch MacDonald