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3rd Annual Epilepsy Benefit Concert
Written by Gary Nuemann
Toronto Exclusive Magazine
Body & Soul- Tango Passion for Epilepsy Research.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder, a physical condition that affects over 300,000 Canadians. It causes a malfunction of the electrical signals that controls the brain. It is characterized by sudden, brief seizures, whose nature and intensity varies from person to person. Many people living with epilepsy are reluctant to disclose their condition because of the fear of what others might think The annual benefit concert for epilepsy came about by Margaret Maye and her desire to help her son Thomas and those with epilepsy, to create awareness of the illness and the need for funding to support research into epilepsy which even though it costs society as much as stroke, receives only 1/50 of the funding. The 2007 concert "Come a little closer for a Jazz Journey for Epilepsy" Featuring Marek Balata, John Alcorn and Margaret Maye at Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto which took place on 7/7/2007 at 7 to a sold out audience.
The 2008 annual Benefit concert for Epilepsy research program at the University of Toronto took place on thanksgiving week-end 2008 at the Saint Lawrence Centre for the Arts in Toronto with two sold out performances on Saturday October 11, 2008 at 3:00 and 8:00; This October concert,"Intimately Two Hearts", featured an international star, a legend of Russian music and bard of song - Jeanne Bichevskaya, accompanied by Gennady Ponomarev, mezzo-soprano Margaret Maye and by the Music Ensemble.
The 2009 version is sure to be just as successful as its two predecessors. This Third Annual Benefit Concert for Epilepsy research titled “Body and Soul - Tango Passion” will take place on October 20, 2009 at 7:30 PM at the Saint Lawrence Centre for the Arts, Jane Mallett Theatre, 27 Front Street East in Toronto. Featuring Artist of the Year, Juno nominated, critically acclaimed, internationally renowned Quartango, with Argentinean Tango Dancers Roxana & Fabian Belmonte and mezzo soprano Margaret Maye.
Quartango: Internationally renowned, critically acclaimed, Juno nominated, Artist of the Year award winner tango group. When four classically trained musicians explore their passion for tango, the result is nothing short of delightful. Quartango takes tango in new directions, with impeccable arrangements, unexpected allusions to classical music and a dose of humour, woven together by the elegant interplay of ensemble playing at its best. The chemistry between the musicians and their engaging rapport with the audience create a memorable experience that always brings down the house.
Quartango is Richard Hunt, piano and arrangements, Douglas Schmidt, bandoneon, René Gosselin, double bass, and Charles-Étienne Marchand, violin. Together, they offer up a repertoire ranging from the classic tangos to tango nuevo and Piazzolla. They also explore other genres, from jazz and opera to waltzes and jigs, in their own inimitable style. Quartango’s awards include three Opus Awards from the Conseil québécois de la musique, notably 2007/2008 Artist of the Year, a Félix Award and a Juno nomination. The ensemble also continues to delight critics and audiences (around the globe.) alike:
“It was dramatic. It was elegant. It was everything tango music should be,” wrote Kelly-Anne Reiss for the Regina Leader-Post
“This group infuses tango with a fascinating mixture of pathos and heat (concert with Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra)” — The Buffalo News, USA
“With elegantly flawless arrangements full of sensuality and wry humor, this group of classically trained musicians infuses the tango with a fascinating mixture of pathos and heat …The story these four musicians tell on Astor Piazzolla’s Adios Nonino is breathtaking. The violin and bandoneon are like plaintive lovers, with the piano narrating the scene as the double bass wickedly plays the devil’s advocate. I swear it’s palpable,” said Harold McNeil, news staff reviewer for The Buffalo News.
Quartango has charmed audiences across Canada and the United States as well as on the international stage, from Ankara Turkey, and Tokyo to Taipei, Paris and New York, where they shared the stage at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops. More recently, they performed in Guatemala and with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Maestro JoAnn Faletta. Quartango has recorded six CDs on the Justin Time label that have been acclaimed for their quality and originality. Their most recent disc, El Fuego, will be available in September 2009 and will also mark the group’s 25th anniversary. Radio-Canada and the CBC have broadcast many Quartango concerts and the group also appeared on the CBC Television program Opening Night. As well, Quartango appeared in and provided original music for the soundtrack of the film Macadam Tang.
Margaret Maye has established herself as an outstanding performer in various musical styles and genres. Her strongly varied repertoire extends from early and modern music, opera, and oratorio, to include operetta, music theatre, cabaret and jazz. In recognition of her significant and continuing contributions to the arts, Margaret Maye was presented, in December 2004, with the prestigious Order of Merit from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Poland and in April, 2007 with Silver Award for Extraordinary Achievements from Polish-Canadian Congress.
Her passion for helping to improve the quality of life of those who are less fortunate has led her to donating her artistic and organizational talents to socially beneficial and charitable causes. She works tirelessly and has become an advocate, a spokesperson and activist for those inflicted with seizure disorder. She is a co-founder of “Epilepsy Cure Initiative”, a charity organization determined to increase public awareness of the facts and realities of epilepsy, to support epilepsy research by raising funds and educating the public about the urgent need for increased efforts in epilepsy research to advance new treatments that offer better seizure control and fewer side effects as well as the need of creating specialized care for people with epilepsy in Canada.
Margaret Maye’s Epilepsy Cure Initiative represents everything that Margaret Maye has done for epilepsy causes so far. She and her associates are dedicated to creating awareness and understanding of epilepsy that will bring an end to fear of the disorder and to discrimination against people with epilepsy, both in everyday life and in the work environment. She also supports research into new therapies to help people affected with seizures.
“Margaret is a powerful force in the world of Epilepsy awareness. I know her tenacity will continue to impact until she has helped the last seizure to subside, until the last child’s brain has been damaged, and until her own son has endured his last seizure”. - Jim Abrahams, Sept 6, 2008Co-founder & Executive Director the Charlie Foundation, Hollywood director, producer, writer
“It is very fitting that we have candles on the stage because Margaret you are a light, not only to all of those who suffer from Epilepsy, but to the artistic community, to our community, really you are a light to the Polish community, you are our light Margaret”, Cheri DiNovo, MPP for Parkdale - High Park, October 11, 2008
"Margaret Maye was excellent in the speaking role of Princess Kokozov, but, unfortunately, this wonderful performer did not sing and was sorely missed in that capacity." Paula Citron, arts reviewer, Opera Canada Magazine, February/march 2008
"experienced Polish-born mezzo-soprano Margaret Maye has a rich, easy, plumy tones and deserves a bigger career in her adopted country." Paula Citron, arts reviewer Classical 96.3 FM, November 2, 2004.
Roxana & Fabian Belmonte: winners of the 2003 “Latin American Achievement Award for "Best Latin Folklore Presence in Canada". They are more than just a couple, when they dance; they transform themselves into a single spirit expressing desire, passion, love and sadness. Their ability to please audiences is evidence of their dedication to maintaining the quality & authenticity of one of the world's most sensual & sophisticated dances. As a result they have been enthusiastically embraced by audiences the world over receiving outstanding nationwide reviews from the critics.
“Body and Soul - Tango Passion” October 20, 2009 7:30PM Tickets: online at www.stlc.com By phone, STLC box office: 416-366-7723 and 1-800-708-6754 In person, The Saint Lawrence Centre, 27 Front Street East, Toronto Tickets $45, $55 and $ 65