It was a night to remember! After lockdowns and restrictions to be able to enjoy once more a concert with so much young talent was such a breath of fresh air. Filtered through a mask of course since the audience complied with the current health measures.
On April 10th at John Rennie High School’s Louise Chalmers ultra-modern theatre, 48 singers aged 12-17 from 6 high schools and a vocal studio took the stage in solos, duos and ensemble numbers to raise awareness and funds for mental health at the Children’s. 20 solos were featured during the performance. At the end of the competition after a rousing Don’t stop believing sung by all the participants, Brianna Fasoli from Saint-Eustache representing Chroma Musika team won second place.
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The event was hosted by a panel of music industry professionals including Mark Bergman and Catherine Verdon-Diamond (The Beat 92.5) and Jason Rockman (The Rockman, CHOM 97.7). This year’s theme was Songs of Hope and it was the first live event since the pandemic. Last year the fundraiser-song competition was held virtually. Before the show, Dr. Polymnia Galiatsatos a gastroenterologist from the Jewish General Hospital addressed the audience. Herself a major supporter and volunteer of the event, Dr. Galiatsatos, emphasized the importance of the fundraiser not just as a physician but as a parent of 4 children.
Raising funds for mental health
Cory Garfinkle, the concert’s organizer said that the Just for Kids Foundation raises funds to purchase high-priority medical equipment for the Montreal Children’s Hospital, and to support initiatives that improve the quality of care for its patients. Hospitals rely on foundations such as Just for Kids to help close the gap between basic government funding and much needed medical equipment and programs.
One of their funding projects this year continues to be Mental Health. Just for Kids is funding a social worker specializing in mental health for the ER. Faced with waiting lists of more than 180 days for follow-up, young people and their families are increasingly turning to hospital emergency departments in a cry for help to deal with issues ranging from anxiety to depression to suicidal ideation. According to the Children’s, from 2020 to 2021, there was a 40% increase in mental health related hospitalizations for children ages 12 to 17.
Brianna wins second place
Brianna Fasoli is a vocal student at Chroma Musika studios which specialize in youth vocal training in Boisbriand and Ville Saint-Laurent. At the night of the performance, she interpreted a 90 second segment of Warrior by Demi Lovato.
“In all honesty I was a little shocked to have won in JFK Voices, let alone second place; not because I doubted my abilities, but because I had witnessed the unbelievable talent amongst whom I was being judged. Yet I am so honored and overjoyed to have been tied for second place as it showed me that I can stand out in a crowd; even an ultra-talented one. Despite being in competition with one another, all the performers were so supportive of each other. There was just such a positive atmosphere backstage, it was so awesome to be in a room of artists cheering each other on. That’s why though I am so happy that I won, I am even happier that I got to be part of this experience as a whole. The fact that it was a fundraising event for a subject close to my heart, made it all the more worthwhile. Making sure mental health resources are available to vulnerable children and teens in need, is a very important issue for me. I have seen many of my friends deal with mental health issues and sometimes not have any true outlet to turn to. In the world that we are currently living in, I find that more and more kids of my generation need to have proper mental health resources available to them. That is why fundraisers like this one are critical and I am just really delighted that I was able to contribute to this worthy cause in some way.” said Brianna in an interview with North Shore News.
$38,603 raised so far
Up to now, via a very intuitive online fundraising platform where people can support the different teams with their donations, 367 donations have been made totaling $38,603. Chroma Musika vocal studios came first with its members fundraising $4,155.00 followed by Vincent Massey Clef Notes from John Rennie High School, Kuper Academy, ECS, Bialik High School and Collège Pasteur. On the individual level Alexis Côté, a young rapper who performed a French rap composed by him and his mom, raised $2,600.
1st place winner was Veronica Setiadi, 2nd place was shared by Alya Khalid & Brianna Fasoli and the 3rd place winner was Caleb Johnston. The event organizers rewarded all the participants and their teachers with a multitude of prizes. It was an added bonus from the sponsors of the event, making for an unforgettable experience for those young performers.