Now, more than ever, we need to tap into our humanitarian spirit to respond to the many grave crises around the world. As a small step in that direction, we are organizing a piano recital on Tuesday, July 31st, 7:30pm at Grace Church on-the-Hill to fundraise for the global humanitarian efforts of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders. This recital is generously sponsored by Grace Church on-the-Hill and the studio of Tanya Tkachenko. In lieu of admission fees, we encourage donations, large or small, to musicwithoutborder.com/donate.
Thank you to all our volunteers, performers, sponsors, mentors, principals, teachers, friends and family for supporting the Music Without Borders 2017 Campaign! With your help, we raised over $15,500 for the worldwide humanitarian work of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders!
Jazz and Pop
The problems of a country are obstacles for the whole of humanity. The volcano is representing the outpouring of challenges in our society. The ring of people represents all the humanitarians, protecting the earth with all their might. These five people are not only depicted in the form of balls of fire—to represent the passion for service—but also represent the five continents of the world—which symbolizes unity in diversity of all mankind.
— Kiana R.
Music has the power to open our heart and mind. The Music Without Borders Gala Concert is our invitation for you to open your heart and mind: a few weeks ago, the United Nations declared that the world is facing the worst humanitarian crisis since its creation. With what other than the generosity of our human spirit can we meet this challenge? Give generously—through donating, coming to the concert, or both—to support the global humanitarian efforts of MSF!
At tonight's concert, we will being having a conversation with the Deputy Executive Director of MSF Canada, Mr. Grant Assenheimer, P. Eng.
From small town Alberta, Grant Assenheimer is essentially a farm kid turned chemical engineer turned humanitarian worker. Graduating with a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Alberta, he spent the next 4 years doing field engineering in the water and wastewater sector.
In 2008, he took leave of absence from engineering to go abroad with MSF and he has been involved with the organization ever since. First in logistics and then as a project coordinator, he has completed 6 field assignments in Bangladesh, the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad.
After returning from the field, Grant remained active with MSF and served on the Board of Directors from 2014 to 2016. Most recently, he has joined the MSF Canada Management team in Toronto as the Deputy Executive Director.
Looking for a place to eat before the concert? Our sponsor Chipotle is offering a buy one get one free deal to all ticket holders at their 501 Bloor St. West location from the 8th to the 15th! Just show your ticket to the cashier.
Buy tickets to the Music Without Borders Gala Concert on Saturday, April 8th at 7:00pm! We will have a keynote address by Grant Assenheimer, Deputy Director of MSF Canada. The concert will also feature performances from some of North America's best youth musicians:
Winner of the Stradivarius International Violin Competition Emma Meinrenken and Coco Ma, a piano student from the Juilliard School, will be joining us again in performing a selection that includes pieces by Gershwin and Scriabin. As well, Adithya Chakravarthy, a leading Indian Classical Vocalist in North America and winner of Carnatic Music Idol USA will be performing. The concert will also feature a hip hop artist who will be attending Berklee, Sam Wang. There will also be many ensemble performances. The Northern Secondary School Chamber Choir will provide a cappella vocals in two contrasting pieces, and there will be a performance by a dance group from Claude Watson School for the Arts. Bakudan Taiko, the University of Toronto Schools Taiko group will also perform. Finally, jazz will brighten up the evening, featuring the JazzFM Youth Big Band performing hits from the Great American Songbook.
We hope to see you there!
It is raining and the colours of the rain represent all the hardship, suffering, happiness and emotions people have experienced. Under the umbrella (MSF), people come together despite their differences to mend and unite.
— by HY Chan
On October 3rd, 2015 a battle was raging in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan. Taliban troops had attacked the city and U.S. and Afghan forces were fighting to drive them out. During that battle, something terrible happened. A hospital being run by MSF was bombed by a U.S. military plane. At least thirty people lost their lives, including MSF staff.
Those doctors, and many more who survived and continued to help the injured after their hospital was bombed, did not go to Afghanistan as part of an army and they did not go their because a government ordered them to. They went there because there were people who needed doctors, so the doctors went to help them. They volunteered to go into a war zone simply because they were needed. And for that noble, selfless act, some of them would never return home.
MSF was not targeted, the doctors and patients who died in Kunduz died because they were in a warzone. Despite that, doctors from MSF still journey to Afghanistan to help those who need help. The risks do not cause them to flee, they cause them to come. MSF has doctors in nations facing crisis all over the world, sometimes war, sometimes disease, sometimes natural disaster and sometimes other crises that we cannot contemplate. In all those countries, the doctors go not simply aware of the risks to their safety, but to prevent that risk for others.
The doctors of MSF have been in Afghanistan for decades, been in Aleppo at the heat of the Russian bombardment, been in West Africa during the Ebola outbreak and been in Rwanda during the worst genocide since World War II, losing staff in all of them. With all these risks, it seems impossible that anyone would want to work for MSF.
Yet they do.
What noble selflessness motivates those doctors to help others, despite the risks to themselves, I know not, but I know that we must support them. There will always be dangers in the world and we will always need people who, when confronted by it, will run towards it to see what good can be done.
—by R. Hamilton
“Art is not equal to beauty...as long as one can look at it and within themselves feel an impact and evoke an emotion, I think that’s a successful piece of work." — Diana Li
On the morning of Friday, February 17th, more than 20 youth from across Toronto attended a workshop facilitated by Doctors Without Borders. It explored how MSF works in various danger zones around the world and what leadership qualities are required to required to provide medical aid successfully. Here is a reflection on the experience by one attendee:
"I went to the Doctors Without Borders workshop in order to gain more knowledge and a bigger leadership role in helping others not only in my community, but on a global scale. I learned about the disaster aid protocol, and all the important roles the workers execute in order for everyone to have the basic needs they deserve. We did a simulation exercise in teams where each member was assigned a job specialty with details—Administrator, Logistician, Physician, Water Sanitation Specialist, Health Promoter—and used it towards helping the team. I was a water specialist and used my skills to provide safe and clean water after a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe. The teams presented their solutions to the crisis to the rest of the group afterwards. The workshop made me more interested in the overall humanitarian aspect of Doctors Without Borders, and provided me with the knowledge to delve deeper into their work. The feedback from the facilitators was very helpful and other exercises helped leadership skills as well. The workshop was particularly interesting since it involved many age groups (grades 7-12) from many different schools. Overall, I learned a ton about Doctors Without Borders and I would recommend this workshop to anyone who wishes to get a more prominent role in helping others and is interested in the whole concept of a worldwide aid system without any biases." — Jason Alizadeh
"You don’t look at art and say 'What is it?' You open yourself and allow yourself to experience it, because it’s an arrangement of space and movement and texture and colour and light. It’s purpose is not simply to depict."
Check out this video interview with renowned Canadian artist Otto Rogers, in which he explores questions about the arts. His work is part of the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery of Canada, among others.
Do you work well with others under stress? Can you build consensus with those who are very different from you? What qualities are indispensable to being a leader that enables successful teamwork?
Come find out at the leadership workshop Doctors Without Borders is organizing especially for Music Without Borders volunteers and participants. This is a rare opportunity to learn from an organization that has been awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize for their humanitarian works around the world’s war zones, disaster and crisis areas. Details are as follows:
Date: Friday, February 17, 2017 9 am - 12:00 pm (NOTE: this is a PD day for most Toronto Schools)
Location: MSF Canada, 720 Spadina Ave, Suite 402.
Capacity for the workshop is limited to 25 students currently in grades 7 to 12. Apply at musicwithoutborder.com/workshop by February 7th to participate in this rare leadership learning opportunity!
The world needs hope—how can we create it?
In this piano piece, performed by Lilian Jin, Ukrainian-Canadian composer Larysa Kuzmenko memorializes the victims of the Chornobyl disaster, one of the worst nuclear power plant accidents in history. As nuclear destruction reemerges into the forefront of public consciousness, this piece reminds us of the importance of humanitarian values as an essential safeguard while we engage and make use of our ever-increasing power, brought about by technological innovation. Ms. Kuzmenko describes the piece:
The opening theme is dark and ominous; it sets the tragic mood of the piece. Following this idea, I quote a sad but lyrical Ukrainian folk tune that describes a grave in the field begging the wind to keep it from dying and asking the sun to shine over it. The tempo suddenly quickens, and the music becomes very rhythmic, creating a rather chaotic atmosphere. The music reflects the mechanical sound of the nuclear reactor. The folk tune has taken on a different character here. It no longer is lyrical and is supported by jarring harmonies. The music signals the reactor’s first explosion at its first climax. Following this explosion, the music becomes very quiet, and slows down. Here, the folk tune essentially has exploded into little fragments, creating a kind of pointillistic texture. At this point, the music represents the invisible, yet fatal radioactive particles that are poisoning the atmosphere. The tempo builds up once again, and the music moves towards the second climax, signalling the second explosion. Here, I quote a sacred chant from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, asking God for forgiveness.
The piece ends with the reappearance of the opening material, setting a mood that questions the future of our planet.
You can find the performance, along with other pieces, on our "Podcasts" page.
Music Without Borders will be hosting a film screening of MSF's "Access to the Danger Zone" on Monday, February 6th at 4:15pm, followed by a panel discussion with MSF staff!
It will take place at the University of Toronto Schools, 371 Bloor St. West, in room 230.
To participate, please sign up at musicwithoutborder.com/film. Make sure to fill out the permission slip!