Airline challenges couldn’t stop us from Looking at the Stars

BCI Minimum Institution – Lukas, who had missed his flight in Paris, had to rush to Gravenhurst directly from Pearson International. Fortunately, he and Dmitri were able to make a scheduled 30-minute stopover at the Minimum Chapel, where they engaged in a conversation with a group of inmates who had attended Lukas’s first performance at BCI in April and our first Event at Bath in December 2015 (!). As they could not attend the event starting at the adjacent institution, we decided we must at least make a stop and pay our respects for their continued interest in classical music and our initiative. Lukas answered numerous questions, signed the evening’s Event Program Cards and tested local keyboard to a rousing ovation by the inmates.

Ten minutes later we found ourselves at the BCI Medium Institution gym, where Lukas, who was wrestling with severe jet lag, presented his musical programme to an audience of about 120 inmates patiently awaiting on Lukas’ arrival and examining a Steinway grand piano that was delivered to the facility earlier in the morning. Attendees included our board members, Gwen Burrows and Larry Jackson, our possible future partner, Hassan Khan and our loyal supporter, Mr. Frank Verni. Lukas presented a program of works by Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Desyatnikov. Perhaps too serious a programme for the occasion and very demanding, but extremely well-received by the inmates, who enthusiastically spoke with Lukas during and after the performance. A lively conversational exchange was enjoyed by all in attendance; most importantly, by the inmates themselves. One large group conversation was in progress from the moment we entered the gym. One could feel, how the ice was melting…

RCM Glenn Gould School String Quartet at BCI Minimum Facility for Restorative Justice Week

As part of Corrections Service Canada’s Restorative Justice Week programme, the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Glenn Gould School String Quartet presented a recital in the gym at BCI Minimum Facility.  It was attended by approximately 80 inmates, institution management, chaplains, and volunteers. Attendees included our Chairman, Mr. Bob Rae and his wife Arlene, our invaluable supporter Mr. Rob Oliphant MP, his parliamentary assistant Kevin Lemkay, our counsel from Miller Thomson, Mr. Andrew Valentine, and our partner and supporter, Mr. Frank Verni.  Barry Shiffman, the inspirational founder of the quartet, presented a classical program, which included works of Bach, Pachabel, Ravel, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and others.

Mr. Shiffman engaged in an interactive and inspirational dialogue about classical music with the audience, together with his young talented colleagues. The inmates’ responses were extremely positive. Following the music performance, they invited the musicians and volunteers to the chapel and treated all of us with cookies and tea. Conversations were struck, questions were raised and answered, and emotions were shared. Hope and optimism filled the air.

Looking at the Stars Founder, Dmitri Kanovich, Keynote speaker at Restorative Justice Week

Dmitri delivered a successful keynote address to a group of about 25 inmates, gathered in the chapel at BCI Minimum Security as part of Correctional Service Canada’s Restorative Justice Week programme. The group engaged in a lively and candid conversation together with chaplains Douglas Parrett and Bruce Aitken. Real stories were shared; concerns and hopes were discussed. Fences and barriers between all present were dismantled. Seeds of faith, hope and optimism were planted.

Celebrate our 1st Anniversary with us

Tickets for our 1st Anniversary Chopin Recital Available NOW!

At 7:00 p.m. on the evening of Friday, December 2, 2016, award-winning young pianist Lukas Geniušas will perform a Chopin program for a select, private audience of 120 guests at Heliconian Hall, 25 Hazleton Avenue, in Yorkville, Toronto.

There will be a chance to meet the organizers before the recital to talk about the charity. After the performance you will have an opportunity to meet Mr. Geniušas in person. This is a rare opportunity to meet one of the rising stars of the international music scene. His other concerts on the tour, in Montreal and Toronto, are selling out.

To purchase tickets to this exciting event, click the secure PayPal button below. You don’t need a PayPal account to use your credit card on the ticket purchase page. Please note that due to the limited capacity at this event, all sales are final. No refunds can be issued. Note that PayPal will add a $3.00 service charge to each ticket’s purchase price.

Your PayPal receipt is your proof of purchase.
Please bring your receipt with you on the evening of the event.

New Video from St. Joe’s Health Centre

We’re delighted with the new video produced by St. Joseph’s Health Centre, documenting our April 2016 event there during Patient Experience Week. Click here to view this excellent video report.

Excellent reception at two Correctional Services Canada facilities

We are delighted and humbled by the reception we received at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario, and at Beaver Creek Institution in Gravenhurst, Ontario in April. The enthusiasm and heart-felt appreciation we experienced from the inmates at both of these institutions reaffirms our commitment to bring Looking at the Stars to many more Correctional Services Canada institutions, as we are able.

To assist us in providing more musical gifts to those who need them most, please consider making a small donation. All donations directly support the cost of producing these very successful recitals.

Looking at the Stars is now a registered charity

We are excited to announce that Looking at the Stars is now an officially registered Canadian federal charitable organization. Donations to our project now qualify for a charitable tax receipt.

Looking at the Stars thanks Andrew Valentine, at Miller Thomson LLP for his invaluable assistance with preparing the required paperwork, his professional guidance during the application process and his personal commitment to our project. Thank you Andrew!

For tax purposes, our Charitable Registration Number is 77958 5298 RR0001.

Steinway Piano Gallery Toronto supports Looking at the Stars

We are excited to announce that Steinway Piano Gallery Toronto has agreed to provide the incomparable sound, touch, and beauty of Steinway pianos to support our classical music recital series. We appreciate the generosity of Mr. Alex Thomson, General Manager, whose support of our vision is very gratifying.

Steinway Piano Gallery Toronto is a division of Tom Lee Music Canada, who has been representing Steinway in Canada since 1978 and is the exclusive representative for the Family of Steinway Designed Pianos for British Columbia, Calgary and Greater Toronto Areas.

April Series confirmed

We’re very pleased to announce a new April Series of classical piano recitals featuring Lukas Geniušas. The new series will run during the week prior to Lukas’ appearance at Koerner Hall on April 30, 2016.

April 26
The Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto)

April 26
Lawrence Park School (Toronto)

April 27
Sunnybrook Veterans Centre (Toronto)

April 28
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (Toronto)

April 29
St. Joseph’s Health Centre (Toronto)

For updates on our project, you can subscribe to our newsletter for more information as it becomes available.

Bob Rae accepts Board Chairman position

We wish to express our gratitude and appreciation to The Honourable Mr. Bob Rae, who has accepted our invitation to Chair the new Looking at the Stars Foundation Board of Directors. Bob’s extensive experience and commitment to the values of our project will ensure that our governance as a Registered Charitable foundation will meet the highest ethical standards as we grow the organization.

For updates on our project, you can subscribe to our newsletter for more information as it becomes available.