Sunday 27 October 2019

Broadway Hits and a great committee team effort highlight 2019 CSL Cats Committee Benefit Concert

A capacity crowd of well over 300 people attended the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee’s (CSLCC) annual benefit concert on   October 24 at the Syd Wise Auditorium of the Wagar Adult Education Centre. Featured performers  for Broadway’s Greatest Hits were the Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo. There were also solo performances by soprano Olivia Charette-Hancinsky, baritone Burney Lieberman and saxophonist Gideon Vigderhaus.

Conductor Joseph Milo. (Photos by Rami Negev)

Funds raised will go towards the CSLCC’s Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program. There are many feral cats in the community. The CSLCC’s team of volunteers sets out to trap as many as possible, have them sterilized and then adopted or returned to the spot where they were originally found.  In the latter case, efforts are made to assist the feeders in the community. The committee has also rescued a number of  kittens and found homes for them.  

Councillor Mike Cohen, responsible for Animal Protection in the city, chaired the event. Diane Liebling is the chair of the CSL Cats Committee.  Fern Collier-Pereira once again organized a highly successful bake sale which supports the committee's program for outdoor feeders. Malka Labow, Ronnie Roter and Randi Kader introduced a new raffle,  with more than $3,000 worth of prizes up for grabs. Alexandra Cohen served as emcee.

The Expedia Cruise Ship Centres table.
Event sponsors were Expedia Cruise Ship Centres, with franchisee Sean Flynn; Gestion;  Elm Investments, Rozenblat Realty Group and Parkhaven Towers; and D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum.

Anthony Housefather, Mitchell Brownstein, Mitch Kujavsky and Mike Cohen.

Thanks to Liberal MP for Mount Royal Anthony Housefather, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Councillor Mitch Kujavsky and Chris Savard from the Office of David Birnbaum for their encouraging words. Chris presented a cheque of $500 from the committee from our MNA.

Chris Savard (left) presents a cheque from David Birnbaum.

Musicians of the World

The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (MWSO) was founded in 2006 by conductor  Milo and his wife Lucy Ravinsky. This one of a kind orchestra is composed of 55 musicians: about 80 percent of its members are from 15 countries around the world, while the remaining 20 percent are natives of Montreal who successfully facilitated the integration of the newcomers. They have been rehearsing at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall for many years and as part of the arrangement, they agree to perform a benefit concert once a year for the CSL Cats Committee. We are very grateful to Conductor Milo and his talented team!

The orchestra in action.
On this night they performed a beautiful array of Broadway hits from the likes of West Side Story, the Wizard of Oz, Les Miserables, Aladdin, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof.

Olivia Charette-Hancinsky

Olivia Charette-Hancinsky
Olivia Charette-Hancinsky is a multi-talented Montreal soprano known for her “captivating stage presence,”  “sparkling upper register” and “extensive range”. She speaks seven languages and plays seven instruments. Olivia just completed her Bachelor’s degree in Classical Performance at McGill University under Professors Winston Purdy and Joanne Kolomyjec, receiving the Margaret Kalil award for “Vocal Excellence” (2018), and the “Tomlinson Award” (2018, 2019) for “advanced musicianship skills”. Her passion for performing started at the young age of three with piano, dancing and singing. Since then, she’s sung in a wide variety of concerts, ranging from Jazz & Big Band to Musicals and then opera. This led to performances on international stages such as Tel Aviv University Israel, Florence Italy, Salzburg Austria, Montreal & Los Angeles Jazz Festivals, Maison Symphonique, Oscar Peterson Hall, Queen Mary cruise ship, Frank Sinatra’s Estate, PBS TV New York and finally Carnegie Hall.

Olivia’s innate musicality inspired her to arrange, conduct and sing with a girls’ choir claiming second  place at the Heritage Fair in NYC. Similarly, she choreographed, arranged and conducted a boys’ team to 1st place in Montreal’s GLEE Competition. This led to being the youngest recipient of “Saint Lambert’s Cultural Personality Award.” She has played the title role of Marian Paroo in The Music Man, performed in A Chorus Line, sang in the North American premiere of James Garner’s Much Ado! and Die Zauberflöte, both directed by Patrick Hansen at McGill, and performed the role of Flora in Verdi’s La Traviata. Her latest appearances onstage were in Canada’s largest summer opera festival in Edmonton this year, where she performed in Cole Porter’s Kiss me Kate, and Benjamin Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, while understudying for Tytania, the fairy queen.

Burney Lieberman

Burney Lieberman
Burney Lieberman is a long time performer of 32 years with the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre. Burney sang with the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue choir for 22 years, and is currently with the Chevra Kadisha Synagogue choir- directed by Joseph Milo.

Burney has performed in 2 major movies, one of which he is extremely proud, to have sung the Kol Nidre as cantor in “Enemies, A Love Story”, the other movie being, “Barney’s Version.” Burney is a professional photographer , providing his images to hotels and private collectors.

Fantastic Raffle

There was also a fantastic raffle. The grand prize was  a three night stay at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Old Montreal, with a fully cooked morning breakfast each day, evening receptions and dinner for two at the restaurant valued at $1,200. 

Alexandra Cohen, Ronnie Roter, Malka Labow and Randi Kader.
A number of beautiful paintings were available. Internationally recognized multimedia artist  Valeriya Khomar  donated a gorgeous painting of a menorah on a glass light box. It includes a functioning lamp, with light bulbs inside. Valeriya's true belief, her philosophy, is that through Art, unity among people becomes a reality. Her goal is to show that the universal language of Art brings individuals together, regardless of their upbringing.  Norma Nutkevitch was the lucky winner.  

Mike Cohen, Norma Nutkevitch and Valeriya Khomar.
 Other prizes, broken down into lots, were as follows:

Lot #1 Ben and Tournesol gift Basket
Lot #2 Stokes Gift Card, Spa Mani Pedi G.C, Golteez G.C (Gift Card)
Lot #3 Casablanca Florist G.C, Spa Mani Pedi G.C, Paragraph Books G. C
Lot #4 Stokes G.C, Foula Manicure, G.C, Paragraph Books G.C. 
Lot #5 Salon Carina G.C, Foula Manicure G.C, Spa Mani Pedi G.C
Lot #6 Billionaire Brows G.C, J and R Kosher G.C.  Mtl. Bagel G.C
Lot # 7 Foula Set of Acrylic Nails, Montreal bagel G.C
Lot #8 Avanti: Mani and Blow Dry G.C, Foula Mani G.C
Lot #9 2 Porcelain Cat mugs and plates, Mtl Bagel G.C
Lot #10 2 Hand Made Cat mugs, Foula Manicure G.C, Fruiterie Maruti G.C 
Lot #11 E Qulib Gift Bag   with spa cosmetics , Foula Manicure G. C
Lot #12 Little Bear gift Bag with 50$ G.C, Dermally Shampoo and Conditioner
Lot # 13  Two Paintings made by Frank Elekes
Lot # 14 Pharmaprix Gift Basket, Annie Young Gift Certificate

Recognizing Others For Supporting Our Event and Cause

We also wish to thank Shelley Schecter, Barbara Hilliker and the Côte Saint-Luc Hospital for Animals.

Thanks to our devoted fundraising committee.

This event could have never taken place without Janine West and her team at the CSL Public Library. They assumed responsibility for the concert last year.  Thanks to Danielle Belanger,  Lisa Milner, Justin Burnham and Farrah Mohammed as well as Maurizio Giobbi from Parks and Recreation, Wagar  Principal Nick Katalifos and his caretaking staff, sound man Jeffret Karkour, photographer Rami Negev, Darryl Levine, Regine Banon,  Ruth Farrugia and  our wonderful Volunteer Citizens on Patrol (VCOPs).

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