Rockin’ for a Cause: Onstage at Techapalooza

By Emily Strempler

When Brad Enns agreed to take the place of a no-show bass player at his first Techapalooza event back in 2013 he wasn’t sure what to expect.

Thom Wolstencroft, a colleague at Compugen, had been approached to help with the vocals for Bill and Dave’s garage band. “Thom mentioned to Napoleon that I had experience back in the day,” Enns says, “I hadn’t played in over 25 years and, having respect for how much dedication playing takes, I was hesitant to accept.”

Only vaguely familiar with Techapalooza, which was then a growing event going into its second year, Enns had concerns about what he was getting himself into. A friend was asking, however, and he was familiar with CancerCare Manitoba, an organization he calls a “saving grace” for friends and family who have benefited from their services.

“CancerCare Manitoba is an amazing, underfunded organization,” Enns notes, “It’s extremely important. CancerCare adds a personal layer, or human touch. I knew once I showed up, I was committed, regardless of the state of the drummer or the band.”

Enns rented a bass and went to the first practice. “I was terrified that this whole thing might be a musical mess,” he recalls, “Well, to my fortune, the drummer, Tom Sinnot, and the lead guitar player, Erik Sinnot, the ringers and sons of Neil Sinnot (vocals, acoustic and harmonica) were off the hook amazing! Brilliant musicians. It was up to me to shake the 25 years of dust off and deserve this opportunity.”

The band practiced two days a week for two months before the event. Enns says he hoped for the best but, “There was no real way to prepare for the absolute terror of playing in front of lots of people comprised of friends, business associates, and peers judging you.”

Participating in Techapalooza rekindled Enns’ love for music, a passion he’s had since he was a child. “I am blessed to have been included in the first place,” says Enns, crediting the volunteer organizers of the event for doing good not only through CancerCare but also for those that come out and participate. “They really give on both sides.”

At Techapalooza 2017, Enns’ fifth year at the event, you can see him playing bass for Bill and Dave Mackenzie’s Band. He plans to continue participating for as long as he can.

“CancerCare Manitoba and Techapalooza have done much more for me than I can ever give back,” Enns told me, “but it won’t stop me from trying.”