Monday, January 25, 2010


I just returned from a whirlwind week of singing and fun in New York, where I participated in a vocal competition. I had the pleasure to reconnect with long-lost family and friends both new and old, I got to absorb some art and culture, and I went to a Broadway show - A Little Night Music.

Now, I am a very picky theatre-goer and I tend to hold very high standards as an audience member so pardon me while I simply GUSH: If you are in NYC you must (absolutely, unequivocally MUST) go to see A Little Night Music. It is magnificent! Brilliant in the seamlessness and economical simplicity of it's staging and beautifully crafted, nuanced and wonderful performances from everybody! It's at the Walter Kerr (on 48th St). Even if the only ticket you can get is expensive - it's worth it. It is as close to a perfect production as I have ever witnessed. If I did not have to come back rehearsals and performances of my own, I would have extended my stay over the weekend to see it another two or three times!

While I was away, in response to the horrific crisis in Haiti, I pledged to match dollar-for-dollar the money I spend on myself that week with a donation to Doctors without Borders and Haitian relief efforts - and I challenged everyone on my Facebook page to do the same! I had no secure internet connection while away, so the total will be donated now, and I have to say it's a whopper!

I am also instigating further efforts to raise funds and support for this cause as well as the ONGOING crisis of women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where despite the supposed formal cease of hostilities, several armed groups still use sexual violence as a weapon of war. In the DRC it is more dangerous to be woman than a combatant as women and girls remain targets for violence. Physical and economic insecurity still characterize the lives of women and girls and the threat of and the use of violence are constants, discrimination against women and girls underlies the violence perpetrated against them, and the current climate of impunity allows the many forms of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, to flourish.

Some of you may also know me as MezzoDiva the Operatic Knitaholic, as well as the designer of the Campanula for the Cure and Hibiscus for Hope sock patterns, which together with some very sore muscles, blistered feet and 60 km (twice) helped me raise some $13,500.00 for The Weekend to End Breast Cancer in 2007 & 2008.

Well, if I can scrape together some time this week, I intend to reformat and re-release those patterns as Hibiscus for HAITI and Campanula for the CONGO. It may have to wait a few days, though as I just returned from an exciting but strenuous week of vocal endeavours in NYC, I am juggling assorted family crises and medical emergencies (my 90 year-old mother-in-law is due to be released from a 3 week stay in the hospital this week) and I just dove into rehearsals for an upcoming opera and for the Quintimacy concert next weekend.

With the agreement of the artists, all proceeds from Quintimacy's upcoming salon will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières, whose efforts in Haiti have been in demand both before the catastrophic earthquake> on January 12, 2010 and since then.

MSF's devotion to this calling, despite personal risk and losses, is truly heroic. MSF trauma centres were seriously damaged by the quake. Latest announcements confirm the quake killed 4 Haitian MSF staff; 4 others who'd recently worked with them also died; 6 are still missing. They just rolled up their sleeves and moved their treatment clinics to tents and mobile centres in the open. Their staff has a good sense of what's going to be needed in the short term as well as how much the rehabilitation of emergency and other healthcare in the country will cost in the long term. As the worldwide generosity continues, donations to their Emergency Relief Fund give MSF the maximum flexibility to respond directly where it’s most needed in Haiti, while ensuring they can still act rapidly should another disaster strike.

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