Concert for Peace: In Support of Ukrainian Refugees and those Trapped by Conflict in Ukraine (Friday)
Gina Farrugia & Peter Karle
Pride Men's Chorus London
El Sistema Aeolian Festival Choir
Anya Romanenko, Artist
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Concert for Peace: In Support of Ukrainian Refugees and those Trapped by Conflict in Ukraine (Friday)aeolianhall.ca
On March 25th at 7 p.m., The Aeolian will be presenting the second night of a benefit concert in support of refugees and others trapped by the war in Ukraine. Internationally celebrated musician Loreena McKennitt will headline the benefit. A full line-up of artists will be announced soon. 100% of funds raised at this event will be directed to the International Red Cross. The concert will feature performances by musicians and artists and include a celebration of Ukrainian art and culture. Guests will be announced as the line-up is confirmed. The Aeolian is especially pleased to welcome friends from the Ukrainian Community.
“Peace and stability are pillars of a healthy society. During these unprecedented times, it is imperative that the global community assists at every opportunity. The Aeolian stands with those affected by the war in Ukraine. We hope that this event and others like it worldwide, draws attention to injustices of war and provides much needed aid to those who need it most.”
– Clark Bryan, Executive & Artistic Director, Aeolian Hall
Let us be inspired and unite in our efforts for peace and common good in the world.
With many worthy international organizations working to support and stabilize the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, the Aeolian has selected the International Red Cross. As an impartial, neutral, and independent organization, the mission of the Red Cross is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and provide them with assistance. Donations will be accepted online as part of the ticketing process, in-person at the Aeolian Box Office, and by e-Transfer and at the event.
Loreena McKennitt is well known as a composer and singer. In a recording career spanning more than two decades, Ms. McKennitt’s ‘eclectic Celtic’ music has received critical acclaim world-wide, and gold, platinum and multi-platinum sales awards in 15 countries across four continents. To date, she has sold over 14 million albums with a catalogue that includes seven studio recordings, three seasonal recordings, a live in-concert DVD and two DVD documentaries. She’s won two Junos, Canada’s premiere music award, garnered two GRAMMY® nominations and has performed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Less well known is the fact that Ms. McKennitt is a highly successful businesswoman who has created an independent record label with celebrated international success.
Born in Morden, Manitoba, Canada, she moved to Stratford, Ontario in 1981, where she initially worked with Canada’s renowned Stratford Festival. In 1985 she established her own record label, Quinlan Road, a move which has made her a rarity in the music industry.
In the early years, Ms. McKennitt ran the operation from her kitchen table, selling her recordings by mail order and producing her own concert tours. Today, she leads her own company with responsibilities that include everything from creating strategic business plans to overseeing marketing and promotion.
Ms. McKennitt’s business acumen is also applied to the three charitable foundations she established. Her Three Oaks Foundation provides financial support to cultural, environmental, historical and social groups. The Cook-Rees Memorial Fund for Water Search and Safety, founded in 1998, has raised more than $4 million in support of water safety education, as well as search, rescue and recovery operations. In 2000, Ms. McKennitt purchased a recently-closed public school in Stratford and transformed it into the Falstaff Family Centre. Responding to concerns identified by the local community, the Centre focuses on the needs of families and children in Perth County, Ontario, which is where she resides.
Ms. McKennitt’s passion for business is matched by her passion for human rights. In 2006 and 2007 she was involved in a landmark human rights privacy case in Britain, where the courts ruled in her favour. The judgment, which was upheld by the House of Lords, has helped to advance privacy law around the world.
Ms. McKennitt is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba. In 2002 and 2012 she was the recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals and in 2013 she was appointed to the rank of Knight of the National Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France.
From 2006 to 2013 Ms. McKennitt held the position of Honorary Colonel of the 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron in the Royal Canadian Air Force and upon completion of the appointment was awarded the RCAF Commander’s Commendation in recognition of outstanding professionalism and dedication. In September 2014, Ms. McKennitt was appointed as the Honorary Colonel of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Tony Dekker is a Canadian singer and songwriter. Most noted as the leader of the indie folk band Great Lake Swimmers, he has also released two solo albums.
Born and raised in Wainfleet, Ontario, Dekker studied literature at the University of Western Ontario. Both of the band’s first two albums, Great Lake Swimmers and Bodies and Minds, were recorded in Wainfleet, in an abandoned grain silo and a Catholic church, respectively. By the time of the band’s third album Ongiara, Dekker and the band were based in Toronto full time.
In addition to his work with Great Lake Swimmers, Dekker released his debut solo album Prayer of the Woods in 2013. He followed up in 2014 with Tony Dekker Sings 10 Years of Zunior, an album of covers of other Canadian artists — including Old Man Luedecke, Chad VanGaalen, Christine Fellows, Ohbijou, Rae Spoon, Matt Mays, Martin Tielli, Jennifer Castle and Cadence Weapon — released to mark the 10th anniversary of Canadian web music store Zunior.
Jennifer Thorpe is an award-winning vocalist, songwriter & multi-instrumentalist whose original songs are expressly written for the Canadian songbook. Winnipeg-born, her Northern Ontario-Manitoba-Scots roots greatly influence her combination of fiery improvisation & rich jazz harmonies with homespun folk roots traditions. Appearing in many jazz groups throughout her career, she most recently enjoyed being a member of award-winning celtic fusion band Rant Maggie Rant. Her work as a producer & music journalist celebrates lifetime Canadian artists, notably in concerts Ed Bickert At 80: A Jazz Celebration at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto which was recorded and broadcast by CBC Radio One, and more recently (pre-pandemic) All For You: A Jazz Tribute To John Noubarian at Aeolian Hall in London. Red makes her home in St Marys, Ontario with her husband Greg & their three children where she is often found running outdoors in all weathers. Still very much a northern girl, summers find them making their way up the North Shore to their off-grid family cabin on Rainy Lake in Fort Frances, Ontario.
Music has been an integral part of Sonja’s life since childhood. Growing up with a music historian and a classically trained soprano as parents exposed her to a great deal of classical repertoire. Sonja spent much of her youth singing in choirs and playing the violin. In her late teens, she was presented with the opportunity to audition for the world reknowned Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan. She decided to audition for the voice department, where room was available for one more student.
Sonja graduated from Interlochen with flying colours and returned home to Canada to continue studying voice at the Don Wright Faculty of Music at The University of Western Ontario. As part of her studies at UWO, Sonja performed in several operas to gain more experience on the stage. She also took up the position of soprano soloist at First St. Andrew’s United Church, which is widely recognized for its fine music program.
Simultaneously, a close friend encouraged her to try Jazz. Her initiation into the Jazz world was a New Year’s Eve gig at a local restaurant. That night proved to be a trial by fire as Sonja spent the evening entertaining the crowd with Jazz standards she’d only just learned (and more than a few which she had to sight-read!). Finding it to be an exhilirating experience, Sonja continued to work on expanding her jazz repertoire and finding a vocal technique that lent itself better to jazz than opera.
Following graduation, Sonja found herself performing more and more Jazz at local restaurants, clubs and private functions. She also worked full-time as a waitress, performing for enthusiastic crowds on nights and weekends. She collaborated with many of London’s very talented Jazz musicians, learning the skills of jazz musicianship as she went. Their mentoring of her singing paid off and in 2005, Sonja was recognized with a London Music Award for Most Popular Jazz Performer.
It was at this time that a life-changing opportunity arose. At the prompting of her mother, she sent an audition CD to the producers of a new television reality/documentary series entitled Bathroom Divas. Chosen from hundreds of CDs to come and audition live, she earned a spot on the show as one of six finalists that would attend a three week Opera ‘Boot Camp’ in Toronto. Having gone six years without any voice lessons, this was the ultimate opportunity for Sonja to receive not only training, but invaluable feedback from some of Canada’s top operatic performers and trainers. The experience was incredibly valuable and renewed her interest in the classical and operatic repertoire, as well as her confidence in her operatic capabilities.
After three weeks of boot camp and a second-place finish, Sonja decided to continue the process of musical growth by returning to her classical music studies at UWO, where she obtained the degree of Master of Music under the tutelage of Mary Lou Fallis, one of the instructors and producers of Bathroom Divas. During her studies Sonja kept a busy performing schedule, which included roles in several operatic productions with UWOpera and Orchestra London. She also released her self-produced debut jazz CD, which has been met with great enthusiasm from her fans and the arts community in London and the surrounding area and led to an invitation to perform at London’s highly successful summer music festival, Sunfest in 2008. Sonja was the only local performer to take the stage in the festival’s jazz village, performing two shows for enthusiastic crowds.
On the classical side of things, Sonja was pleased to be a featured soloist with Orchestra London, the Victoria Symphony and the Vancouver Island Symphony in a Christmas Pops show written and arranged for her and conducted by fellow Jazz musician and UWO grad, Jeff Christmas. Hence, she has become a regular guest performer in the Orchestra London Pops series.
Desiring to create more opportunities for herself and other UWO music grads in the London area, she formed her own production company, Diva Lounge Productions, which is busy developing several original works in collaboration with local London composers. In addition to these many accomplishments, Sonja was also honoured to win several awards, scholarships and competitions for both her jazz and classical performing.
Whether crooning jazz standards with her band, singing with the symphony or performing on the operatic stage, Sonja’s passion for music is evident in her presence and attitude. It is this passion coupled with her consummate musicianship, sparkling voice and versatility that make her a performer to remember and enjoy!
Bryan Gloyd’s musical career has many facets including working as a church musician, recording artist and jazz pianist. Bryan has accompanied many local musicians and organized jazz programming at The Aeolian. He has also accompanied two-time Grammy Winner Matt Alber, the legendary songwriter Marc Jordan and the Canadian National Jazz Award Winner Denzal Sinclaire.
Laurraine Sigouin has appeared as a singer at Maggie’s, Aeolian Hall, Restaurant Ninety-One, London Music Club, Jazz by the Bog, London Jazz Society, and at the long-standing “Jazz for the People” concert series. She is a proud member of the wonderful vocal ensemble Mosaic, which has performed at the Home County Folk Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival. She also performs with LP Soul, a collective of soul-loving musicians who are passionate about creating a musical experience that moves and grooves. Along with Jake Levesque, she founded Enchanté which has been serving up a bilingual mix of jazz and other styles of music to London area audiences since 2004. Their motto is “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”, which is French for “Let the good times roll!”.
Gina Farrugia & Peter Karle
Peter is an old soul – Gina is a young spirit at heart, so they never had to compromise – they just balance each other.
They first worked together in an 18 piece big band – both love all kinds of music, love to share and enjoy teaching. They decided to adopt each other and spend a lot of time rehearsing and experimenting with new tunes and styles, swapping cds, drinking really good coffee and just being goofy.
Gina Farrugia is a jazz musician and educator from Southwestern Ontario who studied voice, violin and arts admin at the University of Waterloo and started her career in Hamburg, Germany. She regularly performs with Peter Karle and with jazz and big bands, country bands, church gigs and contemporary multidisciplinary projects. She has performed on a train, on the roof of a car, a Christmas parade float, a riverboat and on a firetruck. She loves when music genre lines are blurred and likes nothing better than talking shop with fellow musicians and getting the stories first hand from the masters.
Peter is a Kenora boy whose jazz inspired Radiohead, Sting and Miles show sold out Aeolian Hall. He always has a new project on the go including stage work like playing for Jesus Christ Superstar and Funhome in between all his gig work with Julia Haggarty and his funk band project. Gina’s made music everywhere-everything from singing standards with a jazz quartet in Hamburg, playing electro violin in a a bunch of rock bands and Great Gigging it with a Pink Floyd Tribute band.
Lesley Andrew has made soloist appearances with many of Canada’s finest orchestras and choirs, including the Vancouver, Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo, Kingston, Hamilton, Guelph symphony orchestras, Weston Silver Band, Toronto Concert Band, Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, Brott Summer Music Festival, Stratford Summer Music, and the Shenandoah Bach Festival (VA, USA). Ms. Andrew’s recordings have often been heard on CBC Radio. Known for her extraordinary vocal range and versatility in many genres of music, Ms. Andrew often “switches hats,” performing as the soprano soloist for one engagement and as the alto soloist for the next – from opera to show tunes, oratorio to jazz.
Immediately following the completion of her undergraduate degree, Ms. Andrew began an extended tenure with the Stratford Festival, performing in productions including The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, Twelfth Night, Cyrano De Bergerac, Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Music Man and Patience. Other theatrical performances include Menotti’s The Telephone and Hopkin’s Three’s Company at the Guelph Spring Festival (featuring and directed by Ms. Andrew). Most recently, Ms. Andrew directed La Boheme (Southern Ontario Lyric Opera), receiving rave reviews as “SOLO’s best production yet!” for her creative direction and use of space.
Ms. Andrew has completed a number of major concert and recital tours, including Argentina (2005), England/Austria/Germany (1989/1990 – Canadian Concert & Jazz Band), the 1999 World Tour aboard the QE II, two USA tours (2002/2003-California/Arizona/Florida/Texas) and a Canadian tour with The Lesley Andrew Trio (2004-Vancouver/Manitoba/Ontario).
A recipient of many awards, including a Canadian Opera Company Scholarship, and the Maureen Forrester Guthrie Award (The Stratford Festival), Ms. Andrew now adjudicates and conducts masterclasses at festivals, universities and schools of music and drama around the world (voice – classical, Broadway and pop, choral music and speech arts classes.) While living in Stratford, Ms. Andrew was twice nominated as Stratford’s “Citizen of the Year.” Ms. Andrew now runs her thriving voice and drama studios – Dream in Progress Productions – in both London, Ontario and Windsor, Ontario. As a director, Ms. Andrew is much in demand in the genres of musical theatre and opera. Ms. Andrew’s intensive theatre and music program for youth, Summer Glee, is now in it’s twenty-fifth year. More programs are now being offered each summer in communities across Ontario in order to accommodate growing enrollment. Ms. Andrew is thrilled to be the Head of Vocal Music for George Brown College, School for Media & Performing Arts, Toronto, Ontario.
Ms. Andrew has made special guest television appearances on The Tonight Show, Oprah Winfrey, To Tell the Truth, Donny & Marie, The Comedy Network, YTV, Regis & Kathy Lee and many more. A popular motivational speaker, Ms. Andrew is engaged across Canada by Educators, Universities, Corporations, Service Clubs and Student Organizations.
Ms. Andrew’s professional activities have included teaching and stage directing appointments at Wilfrid Laurier University (Opera), as well as the Universities of Windsor (Vocal Pedagogy, Studio Voice; Faculty of Music, and The Creative Process; School of Dramatic Arts) and Western Ontario (Studio Voice, Opera – director, Shakespearean drama). As a pedagogue, Ms. Andrew is very involved with the W Ross Macdonald School for the Visually Impaired in Brantford, Ontario, where she helps create and run arts programs for exceptional children. While maintaining a full teaching schedule in her private studios (London and Windsor) Ms. Andrew continues to work as a soloist, collaborative recital artist, stage director, adjudicator, and motivational speaker. Most recently (2018), Ms Andrew performed the role of “Marcellina” in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, “Alice” in A … My Name Is Alice, the mother in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors (Abridged Opera) and Mrs. McLean in Floyd’s Susannah (Pek Productions).
Poet, performer and playwright Penn Kemp has been celebrated as a trailblazer since her first publication of poetry by Coach House (1972), a “poetic El Niño”, and a “one-woman literary industry”. She was London’s inaugural Poet Laureate (2010-13) and Western University’s Writer-in-Residence (2009-10). Her project was the DVD, Luminous Entrance: A Sound Opera for Climate Change Action, performed at Aeolian Hall, London. Chosen as the League of Canadian Poets’ Spoken Word Artist (2015), Kemp has long been a keen participant/activist in Canada’s cultural life, with more than thirty books of poetry, prose and drama; seven plays and ten CDs produced as well as award-winning videopoems.
London born Genevieve Fisher has earned 7 top 50 national country radio hits with “Take It On Home” and “You Me We” climbing into Canada’s top 20 and top 25 respectively. Genevieve continues to influence the Canadian Country Music scene earning Female Artist of the Year nominations at the 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 Country Music Association of Ontario Music Awards. She has been recognized by the Canadian Country Music Association with her prestigious CCMA performance selection at the 2012 New Artist Showcase in Saskatoon as well as performing in their prestigious Songwriters Series in 2016 and 2018.
Her Indigenous background has allowed her to move onto the National Indigenous Music Countdown where she has scored 2 NUMBER 1 hits. Genevieve has had the opportunity to perform at some of the biggest music festivals in Canada including Boots and Hearts, Havelock Jamboree, Lucknow Music In The Fields, Manitoulin Country Fest, Trackside and Aboriginal Day Live. She has had the privilege of writing with some of Country music’s brightest songwriters including Jason Blaine, Steven Lee Olsen, Patricia Conroy, Michelle Wright, Jason Massey, Jennifer Schott and many more. To any of you who enjoy Christmas season movies be on the lookout for Christmas With A Prince which features a guest appearance by Genevieve.
Owner of AK Arts Academy, a performing arts studio specializing in music dance and drama lessons, courses and workshops, Alexandra is a well rounded and experienced performing artist and instructor. She’s directed and produced several plays and musicals, including her own 2 Christian based musicals What He Did and He is Born. Upcoming, she is the musical director for The Little Mermaid at Palace Theatre, directing and producing Shelter, a tv series for kids.
Clark was born in Simcoe Ontario into a musical family. His mother, a piano teacher and his grandparents both singers inspired Clark to choose a pathway of music as a profession. Clark began formal studies at age four and wrote his first compositions at age six.
In his youth, Mr. Bryan trained with longtime pupil of the renowned pianist Géza Anda, Antonia Mazanova. She helped him gain an appreciation for music of all styles. Mr. Bryan did his formal training at the University of Western Ontario. In 1992 he graduated with both Bachelor and Masters Degrees in piano performance.
Mr. Bryan has worked with many of the world’s renowned pianists including Howard Shelley, Jean Paul, Sevilla, Eugene List, Shura Cherkasky, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Ruth Slenczynska and Ronald Turini. Mr. Bryan spent many years working with the celebrated pianist Cécile Ousset both in Paris and the south of France where he refined much of his pianistic and interpretive abilities.
Clark’s performance career has taken him to Europe, Mexico the United States and throughout Canada. He has done performances for CBC radio and television including a broadcast recital in 2002 at the Glenn Gould Studio, CBC. He has adjudicated music festivals from St. John’s to Vancouver. Mr. Bryan has done extensive music editing including the New Millennium Piano Series for Conservatory Canada. A recent project of note is a book entitled: “Gateways to Learning and Memory” published in 2009.
Mr. Bryan has recorded eleven albums of solo piano and a duo piano album of the Suites for two pianos by Serge Rachmaninoff with duo partner Marion Miller. His most recent recordings include the complete Chopin Nocturnes.
In 2004-2005 Mr. Bryan was invited by London’s City Council to serve as a member of the Creative Cities Task Force, an initiative designed to recognize and promote art, culture and lifestyle in London, Ontario.
Mr. Bryan received the “Special Teacher” award 2004 given by the London Branch of the Ontario Registered Music Teacher’s Association and has been nominated four times for a Jack Richardson music award. He has done workshops for piano teachers and musicians throughout Canada. January 2005, Mr. Bryan was named Musical Personality of the Year by the London Free Press. Mr. Bryan is current the President of the London Branch of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association. Mr. Bryan was honoured to have been invited to give a TED talk for TEDxUWO in March of 2010 at The Grand Theatre in London Ontario and has also recently been guest lecturer at The University of Western Ontario for the International Leading Music Educator’s Conference. He has also presented at King’s College UWO in a SPARKS conference, for the City of London at an “Ignite Culture” presentation and at “City Symposium”, London Ontario.
In 2004, Mr. Bryan purchased the Aeolian Performing Arts Centre and School of Music, a magnificent acoustic marvel in London, Ontario. This hall was built in 1883 as the Town Hall for East London and has a rich musical history. In 2009 he shifted the governance of the Aeolian into a registered chariy. The Hall was awarded “Best Live Venue in London” (Jack Richardson Music Awards)three times and “Top 10 Venues in Canada” (CBC radio 3). In April 2011, Mr. Bryan was awarded a Jack Richardson Music Award in the “Contributor” category for his contributions to the musical landscape in the London Community. In 2011, Mr. Bryan launched El Sistema at the Aeolian, a free UNESCO award winning music program for children and youth. In January 2016, Mr. Bryan with the approval of his Board of Directors open a new education campus at Bishop Cronyn Memorial Place. This new home for the El Sistema Aeolian program will also include many other educational programs soon to be implemented. This new facility also includes a beautiful historic church facility for more artistic presentation.
Pride Men's Chorus Londonaeolianhall.ca/pmcl/
PRIDE MENS Chorus London
Pride Men’s Chorus London is part of a movement of LGBTQ2 Choirs in the world. In 1978 San Francisco’s Gay Men’s Chorus made an unexpected debut after the assassinations of Harvey Milk and George Moscone. Pride Men’s Chorus London made its unexpected debut at the Vigil for The Orlando Massacre hosted at Aeolian Hall on June 14th 2016. In the global arena of eroding human rights and particularly the rights of the LGBTQ2 community, we sing to enlighten and help those with closed minds and hearts open up to celebrate diversity and love.
Pride Men’s Chorus London creates experiences through choral music that promotes community, diversity, inclusivity and excellence. The chorus is open to all men regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. With the goal of combatting stereotypes and perceptions, we challenge the heteronormative worldview by inspiring our audience, the LGBT2Q communities and our broader community through advocacy and music. We celebrate victories won, we mourn lives lost, we find unconditional acceptance, and we celebrate all life in harmony, through our songs.
El Sistema Aeolian Festival Choiraeolianhall.ca/esa/
El Sistema Aeolian Festival Choir
There are millions of participants in over 80 countries and the program has spread across Canada quickly. Canadian Provincial and National Associations are forming. Our local program offers five days of instruction to our participants including orchestra, choir and piano lessons. Meals and snacks are also provided. Our participants give approximately 10-20 concerts per year in various settings.
The arts enlighten, inspire and transform individuals, helping us build strong, healthy and vibrant communities. El Sistema Aeolian provides an opportunity for children, youth and their communities to experience a free, intensive, innovative and accessible after school music program. We provide expert instruction in a nurturing, safe and inclusive environment allowing participants to develop their full social and musical potential.
Anya Romanenko, Artistwww.pictorem.com/profile/Anya.Romanenko
Anya Romanenko studied at Repin School of Fine Arts in her native Ukraine. During this time, Anya also received a degree in Architecture. Her educational background is reflected in the structural nature of her compositions, yet it is softened by the free-spirited, dreamy and often humorous nature of the subjects depicted within her pieces.
Anya’s paintings have always reflected personal and intimate subject matters. Life events, travels, loves and losses, and mostly family make for a wide variety of stories that she generously shares with her viewers. As Anya’s art evolves and progresses, new characters enter her canvases bringing with them new dreams and experiences.
Anya is continuously experimenting with various medias and most of her paintings and illustrations are created using a combination of artistic tools. She works with encaustic (wax), ink, acrylics, coffee and various textured materials. Her methods are bold, uninhibited and as a result, each piece unique.
The personal and expressive nature of Anya’s works makes them relevant to art lovers of all caliber. Her real life optimism and unyielding energy are inevitably reflected in every painting. Each painting tells a story and the viewer is introduced to a world of color, harmony, wisdom and joy.
Anya currently resides in Toronto, Canada where she teaches art at Crestwood School and works out of her home studio. Anya also designs sets for various ballet performances, most notably, at Bayview School of Ballet. Her encaustic, acrylic and ink collections have been exhibited in art galleries and shows throughout North America and Europe.
Kiev International Gallery
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