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Annual pay-what-you-can community concert to raise awareness, support for people living with HIV/AIDS as care needs continue to grow in Toronto

November 19, 2014 (Toronto) :

Launched in 2008 by Toronto’s Casey House in partnership with Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation (Vancouver) and La Maison du Parc (Montréal), and now in collaboration with the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR), “Voices of Hope / Voix D’Espoir” is Canada’s only nationally-coordinated annual concert series for World AIDS Day every December 1. The concert honours the many lives lost to HIV/AIDS, and calls for increased support and dignity for all people in Canada and around the world who are living with HIV/AIDS.

Toronto’s pay-what-you-can concert is being hosted by Casey House, Toronto’s only dedicated specialty HIV/AIDS hospital. Donations received at the concert will support compassionate HIV health care for some of Toronto’s most ill and marginalized people living with HIV/AIDS.

“There are 20,000 people living with HIV in Toronto, but ongoing stigma means that many people living with this disease are alone and isolated, and not getting the help they need,” says Rev. Dr. John Joseph Mastandrea, the founding co-chair of the Toronto concert, now in its 6th year. “This community concert is an opportunity to celebrate and honour the lives of the millions of people we continue to lose to this disease worldwide, and to show our support and encouragement for the many thousands of people who continue to deal with the very difficult challenges of HIV every day, right here in our community.”

The bell tower of Metropolitan United Church (at the corner of Queen St. E and Church St.) will be illuminated by a large red AIDS ribbon. One of Canada’s largest carillons will ring out in song, urging Torontonians to join us in remembering the millions of precious lives lost to HIV/AIDS, and to demonstrate support for the many who continue to struggle with the disease around the world and right here in Toronto.

ABOUT HIV IN TORONTO TODAY: AN ONGOING CRISIS

Today, one in 120 adult Torontonians is HIV-positive, and approximately 1,000 people in Ontario are newly infected each year. There is still no cure for HIV/AIDS. Treatment has improved greatly, however many people cannot access treatment, or develop complications as they grow older that require complex medical support. The need for HIV care is continuing to grow. Responding to continually increasing need, Casey House is planning to launch a new model of care, in a new and larger facility at the intersection of Jarvis and Isabella Streets that will allow us to more than double our care capacity.

2014 CONCERT PERFORMERS:

Jose Arias as Dyna Thirst – DRAG VOCAL
Dillan Chiblow – MUSICAL THEATRE VOCAL
Gavin Crawford (Comedian, formerly of CBC’s This
Hour Has 22 Minutes)– VOCAL
Jordan Klapman (Musical Director) – PIANO
Gerald Martindale – CARILLON
Sharron Matthews – CABARET VOCAL
Avery Raquel – YOUTH JAZZ VOCAL
Oasis Vocal Jazz – JAZZ CHOIR

HOSTED BY:

Rev. Dr. John Joseph Mastandrea
Shaun Proulx (Sirius Radio Host)

PRODUCED BY:

Lesley Ballantyne, Briane Nasimok – http://www.herculeaneffort.ca

SUMMARY:

WHAT: Casey House’s “Voices of Hope” concert for World AIDS Day
WHEN: Monday, December 1, 2014
WHERE: Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen St. E (at Church St.)
TIME: Doors open 6:30 pm, with concert 7 pm – 8:30 pm, followed by outdoor candle ceremony
COST: Pay What You Can – $20 suggested donation, with all donations gratefully accepted

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS:
National Maestro Sponsor: M.A.C AIDS Fund
National Soloist Sponsors: Viiv Healthcare, Telus
Local Sponsors: Winners, The New Classical 96.3FM, Scotiabank Bright Futures

About Casey House: Casey House is a specialty HIV/AIDS hospital with community programming including home care and outreach programs. Founded in 1988, we were the first freestanding HIV/AIDS facility in Canada. Our commitment is to provide compassionate health care to people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. www.caseyhouse.com

About CANFAR: The Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) is the only national charitable foundation that raises awareness to generate funds for research into all aspects of HIV infection and AIDS. Since inception in 1987, CANFAR has invested more than $18 million in research initiatives across Canada. CANFAR is funded solely through the generosity of corporations, groups, and individuals across Canada.

Media inquiries:
Kathleen Sandusky
Communications Specialist, Casey House
416-434-7763 / ksandusky@caseyhouse.on.ca