Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Fundraiser for the Centre for the Arts in Human Development

 Stars shine at 
“An Inspiring Evening of Song and Dance”

By Cindy Davis

It’s not uncommon these days to see a Leanord Cohen song performed in tribute to the remarkable late artist. But on the evening of November 15, guests at a benefit concert held at the Shaare Zion Congregation in Montreal were treated to a very special rendition of Hallelujah.

The concert, held in support of The Centre for the Arts in Human Development at Concordia University, featured performances by past and present students of the program, all with special needs. Cohen’s Hallelujah was performed by Robbie Zunenshine and Joshua Benlolo, accompanied by guest musician Jason Rosenblatt on keyboard, and it was not only sung perfectly, but had everyone in the crowd singing along and visibly moved.  

A unique program in Canada, The Centre for the Arts in Human Development is an educational, clinical, training and research centre for individuals with developmental disabilities and other special needs, that promotes personal development through creative art therapy programs. Through art, drama, music and dance, students learn how to better express themselves creatively to enable them to reach their full potential. The program is in high demand, admitting only 20 students every two years and currently has a waiting list.

If the performances at the November 15 concert are any indication, the talent pool at the Centre is overflowing. Performances included an interpretive dance number to Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling, a performance of an original composition called Never Want to Let You Go, an homage to the Beatles and more.  Special guest performers included Cantors Adam Stotland and Daniel Benlolo.

The collaboration between the Shaare Zion and the Centre formed several years ago when Eleanor Diamond, president of the Shaare Zion Sisterhood, attended a performance by the Centre at another venue and wanted to get involved. The synagogue Sisterhood has been sponsoring this event ever since. In an emotional speech, Diamond said that this is a cause about which she is passionate, and that throughout the years, she has seen major changes in the participants’ lives through the Centre. 
Lenore Vosberg presents a gift to Eleanor Diamond
at Shaare Zion Congregation.

“This is a great community outreach event,” said Lenore Vosberg, co-founder and director of Clinical Services and Public Outreach for the Centre. “It’s a wonderful way for us to put out our message that everybody has gifts and something to share.”

“We are educating, demystifying, and showcasing their abilities,” added Miranda D’Amico, co-founder of the Centre. 

Miranda D’Amico, Lenore Vosberg and Stephen Snow, co-directors of the Centre – Miranda and Stephen are co-directors of research at CAHD in Montreal.

It was a wonderful evening in celebration of a very special centre. Congratulations to everyone involved!