Toronto Visionaries chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind

Join us for one of our concerts

The CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter, Canadian Council of the Blind, proudly presents our online concert series, featuring performances by talented Canadian artists with lived experience of vision loss.

Concert: Michael Arnowitt, solo piano

Michael Arnowitt wearing a tux and smiling while playing grand piano.
Photo courtesy: Charley Freiberg

Michael Arnowitt leads his ImproVisions Jazz Quartet in a colourful and diverse program of jazz past and present. The music ranges from Michael's creative versions of older pop tunes and well-known selections from musicals, to jazz influenced by Brazilian and Syrian music, and includes some of Michael's own original jazz compositions from his recent recording Sweet Spontaneous.

Michael Arnowitt, who is blind from retinitis pigmentosa (RP), is from the USA and is beginning to make his new life in Toronto. He'll be joined by some of the city's best jazz musicians.

Sample tracks from Michael Arnowitt's album, Sweet Spontaneous: "Migratory mood" and "Bulgarian Hoedown".

Please visit www.mapiano.com, like his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter @Piano_MA.

Soft drinks, water, and light refreshments will be served before the performance and during intermission.

Tickets

To buy your tickets for this event:

  1. Online: Visit the Support our vision page on this website, and use the PayPal button and your credit card. In the 'Instructions to Seller' field, write Concert tickets.
  2. E-bank transfer: Send an e-transfer to info@ccbtorontovisionaries.ca, indicating that you are purchasing concert tickets.
  3. Cheque: Mail a cheque, made payable to the CCB Toronto Visionaries, care of:
    CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter
    Canadian Council of the Blind
    85 Evans Avenue, Toronto, ON, M6S 3V9
  4. At an event: You can also arrange to purchase tickets in cash at any CCB Toronto Visionaries event from now until the show date.

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Past performances

"The Edge of Blue" with Roy Forbes

Roy Forbes playing guitar in a recording studio
Photo courtesy: Riley Forbes

Join us for a fascinating evening of music and conversation with 5-decade veteran of the Canadian folk scene, Roy Forbes! We'll sample some songs from Roy's long career, and talk about his journey with vision loss. Then, we'll sample a few tracks from his most recent album, Edge of Blue.

The Lucas Hanneman Express Blues Band in a group pose on a sunny summer's day on a roadside, in front of trees
Photo courtesy: Lucas Hanneman Express Blues Band

Lucas Hanneman Express Blues Band

Driving the Boat & Other Stories, with Kim Kilpatrick

Kim Kilpatrick hugs her guide dog, Tulia
Kim Kilpatrick hugs her guide dog, Tulia

Back by popular demand, seasoned story-teller and creator of the CCB's Get Together with Technology program Kim Kilpatrick, returns for another delightful and poignant evening of carefully-crafted vignettes and memoirs drawn straight from her lived experience with vision loss.

We'll also have an opportunity to talk with Kim about the art of story-telling. There will be a short Q&A afterwards.

2021 performances

Here are some of our fond musical memories from 2021. We would very much like to thank all who generously shared their music with our community!

The Power of Music — with Stelth Ng

Stelth Ng playing his violin.
Photo courtesy: Alexander Sviridov

On Saturday, July 17, 2021, accomplished classical pianist and violinist Stelth Ng joined us in conversation, and shared a number of pre-recorded works from the classical and contemporary repertoire, including a number of his own compositions. Stelth also talked about his ongoing advocacy for music as one of the avenues for healing after vision loss, and his new school for blind musicians, the Toronto Institute of Music for the Blind.

Theatre: The Sunglasses Monologue with Vivian Chong

Vivian and her dog, both wearing sunglasses.

After 5 sold out shows in Toronto's Second City Theatre, and touring in Ontario and Alberta, Vivian Chong and her dog Catcher bring The Sunglasses Monologue to the CCB Toronto Visionaries.

In 2004 Vivian Chong suffered an extremely rare reaction to Ibuprofen and was put into a medically-induced coma. When she woke up, she found out that she had suffered internal burns. As her body recovered, her eyesight deteriorated — ultimately leaving her blind in both eyes.

The Sunglasses Monologue is about embracing vulnerability and change. A decade in the making, Vivian created this living memoir in response to endless questions about her day-to-day life as a person living with blindness. Through quirky humour and wisdom, Vivian shares how creativity enabled her to resurrect a vulnerable self and life.

Concert: A virtual ceilidh, with Susanna McCleary

Susanna McCleary playing her violin.
Photo courtesy: Dorothy De Val

Susanna McCleary started learning classical violin in England, winning Musician of the Year for Herefordshire in 2006. As a totally blind musician diagnosed shortly after birth with Leber's Congenital Amaurosis, she continued her violin studies in Toronto with Ian Grant. But, trips to Cape Breton found her learning traditional tunes from the Beaton family, Glenn Graham and Sandy MacIntyre. She also plays Irish, Scottish, Métis, and Québécois styles and recently added klezmer to her repertoire.

She has studied with many renowned players including Sandy MacIntyre, Patrick Ourceau, Anne Lederman, Ilana Cravitz and Eric Stein. She holds a music diploma from Mohawk College and a B.Mus degree from McMaster University. She has also studied both Scots Gaelic and Irish to better understand the rhythm of the music.

Sample tracks from Susanna: "Quebec tunes" and "Scottish and Cape Breton tunes".

Join us on April 16th for a virtual ceilidh, featuring an eclectic array of fiddle styles that should get you up and dancing. Susanna is joined by keyboardist Dorothy de Val, whose spirited improvised accompaniments are the perfect complement to these toe-tapping tunes.

Please arrive early! We'll open the Zoom room at about 6:40pm to give everyone a chance to be admitted and settle in. We'll do a brief introduction, starting just after 7pm. Then we'll screen-share Susanna's concert, pre-recorded exclusively for the CCB Toronto Visionaries and streamed using Zoom's new stereo capability, followed by a Q&A after Susanna's performance.

Concert: "Flying in the Dark" with Kim Kilpatrick

Kim Kilpatrick hugs her guide dog Tulia
Kim Kilpatrick hugs her guide dog Tulia

A gifted professional storyteller since 2004, Kim is known for her humorous, well-crafted stories. In "Flying In the Dark", her one-woman show created in 2011, Kim offers a series of hilarious and poignant autobiographical memoirs, stories about what it is like to live and thrive as a blind person in a sighted world.

Kim has performed on the NAC fourth stage, in storytelling theatre festivals in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Victoria and Winnipeg. Kim is also the creator of the CCB's Get Together with Technology program.

Check out an interview with Kim at Kim Kilpatrick, MASC (masconline.ca).

Concert: Michael Arnowitt, solo piano

Michael Arnowitt wearing a tux and smiling while playing grand piano.
Photo courtesy: Charley Freiberg

Michael Arnowitt is a seasoned professional concert pianist who has toured internationally, performing a wide range of Classical repertoire and great jazz standards, as well as his own original jazz compositions.

The program will include classical pieces by Debussy, Bach, and Bartok, as well as jazz improvisations on music by George Gershwin and Stevie Wonder. It will also feature the premieres of Michael's new composition, "Chicago Avenue", and his jazz arrangement of selections from Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana".

Michael, who is blind from retinitis pigmentosa (RP), is from the USA and is making his new life in Toronto.

Sample tracks from Michael Arnowitt's album, Sweet Spontaneous: "Migratory mood" and "Bulgarian Hoedown".

Please visit www.mapiano.com, like his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter @Piano_MA.

Lucas Haneman & Megan Laurence, The Blind & the Beautiful.
Lucas Haneman & Megan Laurence, The Blind & the Beautiful

Concert: The Blind & the Beautiful: Lucas Haneman & Megan Laurence, Live!

Accomplished Blues guitarist and songwriter, Lucas Haneman and extraordinary Canadian vocal talent Megan Laurence offer an acoustic show featuring original tunes, one or two Blues classics, and new material from "Blinded by Blues", a forthcoming album due for release in 2021.

Here is the link to the show from January 15, 2021:

Here are a couple of sample tracks from The Blind & the Beautiful:

  1. Listen to "Cobweb Blues" from Lucas and Megan's forthcoming album.
  2. From the RBC Ottawa BluesFest's Advent Calendar, listen to "River" by Joni Mitchell.
  3. And, check out this live interview with Lucas on CBC

For more on The Blind & the Beautiful, their new website or like their Facebook page.

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Soft drinks, water, and light refreshments will be served.

Tickets available by arrangement. To get your tickets, email the CCB Toronto Visionaries, or contact Rhonda Underhill-Gray at the CNIB Hub (416-486-2500 extension 8313) or through the CNIB Store (1929 Bayview Ave). You can also get tickets at any CCB Toronto Visionaries event from now until the show date.

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