Founders, members, and supporters of River Street Promotions presented Prairie South School Division (PSSD) and Holy Trinity Catholic School Division with more than $45,000 for youth mental wellness initiatives on May 21. 

The money comes from ‘A Nashville Christmas’, held this past December at the Mae Wilson Theatre in downtown Moose Jaw.  

The funds were presented in the Peacock Collegiate Auditorium, following the screening of a special behind-the-scenes documentary of the concert and the events leading up to it. 

The concert was hosted by River Street Promotions co-founder Joel Stewart and featured five award-winning singer/songwriters based out of Nashville, TN — known the world over as Music City. 

Emily Shackelton, Jenn Bostic, Jonny Mo, Sarah Darling, and Lindsay Ell were the performers, and what made the trip particularly special was the time they invested into high school students from across southern Saskatchewan. 

“It was awesome, nothing short of amazing, and I, too, found it very moving,” said Ryan Boughen, director of education at PSSD.  

“Great messages for students, great messages for adults, and we’re really fortunate that our community and our students had a chance to receive those messages from those musicians.” 

Boughen, who with fellow PSSD executive Amanda Olson was one of the executive producers of the documentary, said he is continually amazed by what River Street Promotions (RSP) is capable of. 

RSP is a non-profit, charity-focused entertainment group whose volunteers put on the annual Homestand concerts (tickets for Homestand ‘24 in September are currently on sale), as well as more intimate ‘in the round’ style concerts at the Mae Wilson. All proceeds from RSP events go to supporting youth mental wellness in Moose Jaw's school divisions

RSP founder Jared Mathieson has frequently noted that the Mae Wilson events are his personal favourites. 

“It was fulfilling (to see this documentary screened here),” he said afterward. “I’ve been doing charity events for 15 years and this was kind of the highlight of it. All the people on stage were my friends, the title sponsors are my friends, and River Street Promotions, obviously are all friends, so it was cool. 

“We think we’ll eventually release it to the public, obviously there’s some copyright issues and stuff like that that we’ll have to hash out. Right now, the main purpose was to get it to the students who didn’t get to participate. ... So, hopefully all the high school students can watch it and get some of the messages that Emily (Shackelton) and her friends had.” 

Mathieson thanked the community sponsors of A Nashville Christmas, especially the Co-op and Co-op Ethanol Complex. He noted that the auction held that night was amazing, with Shackelton, Bostic, and Darling each offering a house concert — those concerts sold for $10,000 apiece. 

He also credited Joel Stewart, Sean Smith, and Lisa Fryklund for their filmmaking expertise. 

“And just big thanks to the RSP team, because again, it takes a community.” 

“In public sector education, there’s only so many dollars that we receive to support students, so these are additional funds that we can use to do really creative, neat things to support students in their mental health,” Boughen added. 

“Without groups like River Street Promotions who are willing to give their time and effort, there are things we just couldn’t do.”