Responding to a call for volunteer performers, fourth-year music students Sally Dawoud and Myvanwy Mackness, who are both graduating this June, offered solo turns on vocals and guitar. Third-year music students Craig Visser and Cortney Keywan serenaded the walkers with classical and jazz guitar duets. Jackob Franiczek, who is a second-year student, stepped up the beat with his jazz trio.
The walk was the brainchild of York alumna Theresa Riccardi (BA, BEd ‘87, MEd ‘90), a teacher with the York Catholic District School Board and president of the York South Particular Council of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP), Toronto. SSVP and Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold (MIOTC) came together to organize the event to raise awareness and funds to help low-income families in the community.
The walk was a big success, both financially and artistically. It generated more than $41,000 for the cause and many compliments for the musicians from the 340 participants.
“We were thrilled to showcase these remarkable young artists, who gave so freely of their time and talent,” said Riccardi. “The music was certainly a highlight for our walkers, who were impressed with the professionalism and stage presence of the York students.”
Riccardi’s degrees are not her only connection to York. Her sister, Mary Riccardi (BA ’08), and colleague, Jane Skinner (BA ’76), who work in the Office of Student and Academic Services in the Faculty of Fine Arts, helped connect her with the music students. Both Riccardi and Skinner participated in the walk.
“We heard so many compliments about the musicians,” expressed Skinner. “It made me so proud of our students.”
The enthusiasm flowed both ways, with the students keen to participate again next year.
“Everyone I met was so welcoming and friendly, and I really enjoyed the experience,” said Dawoud. “I think the walk is an excellent way to bring awareness about poverty. I’d love to perform again to support this cause because I feel it’s an important issue in our community.”
MIOTC serves thousands of vulnerable people in York Region, providing meals, clothing, medical care and support services. The SSVP supports a number of programs, including home visits, the Marygrove and Ozanam Camps for disadvantaged children, homes for developmentally handicapped adults, and more.