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victoria Canal - Empower Concert

Recap and photos from the event

THANK YOU to all who attended the Victoria Canal concert in our series of Empower events. Partnering with the Milwaukee Public Library - Central branch, we transformed their "hidden gem" Centennial Hall into a full-fledged music venue with sound and lighting design by Studio Gear. This event was free to the public thanks in part to our amazing sponsors; presenting sponsor BMO U.S., with support from Marsh McLennan Agency - Wisconsin, Lime, Mutual of America Financial Group, PNC, 88Nine, R&R Insurance Services, Bank Five Nine, and our partner Milwaukee Public Library.

Stage before the show

The Centennial Hall stage before the show

Held on October 26th 2023, Victoria Canal started her day with an intimate Studio Milwaukee Session and interview live on 88Nine. Independence First was there with an information table for anyone new to our organization and servies. Listeners got a chance to hear stories and reflections on a few songs, as a prelude to the full Empower Concert that evening. At the venue, CBS58 stopped by to interview Victoria in the green room before her performance. 

Victoria Canal interviewed by CBS58 reporter backstage

Victoria Canal in the green room speaking to a reporter from CBS58

Despite the rain and downtown Milwaukee construction, a good crowd came out to spend a dry evening in the historic venue. Mostly host to author talks, Centennial Hall has rarely seen music performances in recent history and really came alive. Utilizing a beautiful grand piano recently donated to the library, Victoria Canal filled the hall with poignant storytelling and powerful music. Sharing the stage were two integrated ASL interpreters who took turns translating the music and lyrics into emotive, expressive signing and expressions, a performance in itself. Levity was sprinkled thorughout with Canal's light-hearted brand of self-deprecating humor that invoked laughter to balance the sometimes heavy themes of body image, grief and longing. 

Victoria Canal telling a story while holding an acoustic guitar

Victoria Canal telling a story while holding an acoustic guitar

We heard songs from her new EP "Well, Well," previous favorites, a downtempo cover of Phoebe Bridgers "Motion Sickness," and were treated to a few new, unreleased songs. Between songs, Victoria shared anecdotes, a bit about her work in advocacy efforts, life as an artist with a limb difference, and backstory to the life events that inspired her lyrics, all holding the audience in wrapt attention. After the hour of music, she milled amongst the crowd easily chatting, posing for photos, and accepting praise. A few attendees shared their tears from being so overwhelmed by emotion and were met with hugs. 

Victoria chats with fans

Victoria Canal chats with fans

Thank you again to our amazing sponsors and attendees, your support continues our mission to help people with disabilities live independently in our community. 

If you would like to attend more unique events from Independence First, learn about upcoming workshops, and stay in the loop with our advocacy efforts and where we are in the community, subscribe to our enewsletter!

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All photos by Jennifer Miller

Victoria with ASL interpreter

Victoria with integrated ASL interpreter

Victoria sings at a grand piano

Victoria Canal sings while playing a grand piano

Victoria hugs a fan

guests registering

Guests sign in for the event

Victoria talks to a fan

Victoria talks to fans after the show

Crowd begins to find their seats

Crowd begins to find their seats in Centennial Hall

Victoria poses with IF staff

Victoria Canal poses with IF executives

Victoria poses with Marci Boucher

Victoria Canal poses for a photo with Independence First CEO/President Marci Boucher

Victoria Canal poses with VIP guests in the green room

Victoria Canal poses with VIP guests in the green room