Saxophonist Dave McLaughlin believes in helping others

Monday, April 4, 2022 - 23:00

Toronto saxophonist Dave McLaughlin has devoted his life to doing good and not even the pandemic has slowed him down.

That’s why, COVID-19 rules permitting, he’s holding two gospel concerts on April 9 and 10, helping to raise funds for academic scholarships for deserving university and college-bound students across the Greater Toronto Area who need a helping hand.

Ever since I’ve known him — starting 12 years ago when he performed for free at a charitable fundraising dinner we both attended — he’s been doing good works, as he was taught by his father and grandmother while growing up in his birthplace of Jamaica.

Attending church services in his local parish in Montego Bay, he learned from his family that the act of charity was not merely an option or something you did for personal aggrandizement, but a commandment from God, because, “Blessed are those who consider the poor.”

McLaughlin devoted himself to mastering the saxophone after he was inspired by a music professor from Indiana State University who heard him perform when he was a teenager and told him to keep at it because he was “a natural.”

But he never forgot the lessons about charity he had learned as a child.

He went on to become a world-class saxophonist, performing in many countries before big audiences, opening for the likes of the legendary Ray Charles.

Emigrating to Canada in 1991, becoming a Canadian citizen, and settling in Toronto, he formed the Dave McLaughlin Band, which performs at corporate functions, weddings and other social events.

At the same time, he began playing for free at charitable fundraising events and later embarked on fundraising efforts himself for everything from academic scholarships, to programs for school children, to baby incubators for hospitals in his birthplace of Jamaica.

Driven by his belief that “every child can grow up to become anything — a doctor, a lawyer or a criminal and we have to help them make the right choices,” he also serves as a mentor to many young musicians and singers and donates a portion of the sales of his CDs to charity.

That includes tribute songs to the late reggae great Bob Marley and his wife, Rita Marley, whom he has known for 12 years, available on Amazon Music and Apple Music.

A born entrepreneur, when the pandemic cut into live appearances with his band, he has set up a painting business.

McLaughlin is putting on two charitable fundraising gospel concerts next weekend — on Saturday, April 9 at the APC Church in Pickering, 1920 Notion Rd., and on Sunday, April 10 at the Revivaltime Tabernacle, 4340 Dufferin St. in Toronto.

Both concerts start at 7 p.m. and will feature a variety of talented gospel singers and musicians, of all ages, MC’d by Jamaican comedian and actor Oliver Samuels, with special guests Deputy Toronto Mayor Michael Thompson and Justice Donald McLeod.

Corporate sponsors include the Seagarden Beach Resort in Montego Bay, Sandals Resort, the Jamaica Tourist Board, RE/MAX agent D’Juvayne Christian, U-Haul Rental in Jamaica and Dave’s Painters Canada.

Tickets, $35 each, are available by calling 647-655-781 and are also available at Al’s West Indian Food Mart, Beryl’s Pepper Pot, Ritz Caribbean Foods and Danforth Food Market for the April 9 concert, and at Danforth Food Market, Roots Pharmacy and Royal Travel Agency for the April 10 concert.

His website is

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