Friday, June 21, 2013


Kreviazuk Shines for the War Child Effort



They decided to dispense with formalities at the Chantal Kreviazuk concert last Friday night in Belleville. She was sitting in the crowd of fifty people, beside her good friend Sam Nutt, when she was introduced to perform. No drum rolls, no whistling and screaming. No fainting. Just a Winnipeg girl heading to the piano to share a few tunes for the local folk.


Truth be told, extensive technical work took place long before she placed her hands on the keyboard. Her sound man spent more than an hour tuning the fine Yamaha grand at the Belleville Club. Ken Harnden from Pinnacle Music assessed and tweaked the elaborate sound system, to the standards expected for the event. Chantal’s sound man stepped behind the sound board for a last fine tuning.


Sam Nutt is a Canadian doctor who works as a physician at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. She had invited her friend Chantal to help raise a buck or two for War Child. Essentially, it is a rescue mission to help people in desperate straits who unfortunately face the consequences of war in their lives. It is a vehicle to give hope. The good people of Belleville turned over a cheque for $ 55 000 to War Child following the concert.


                                           The Columnist, Chantal, and Dr. Sam Nutt
Sam Nutt has more letters after her name than Carter has pills. (That is a bit dated. She has more letters than Jose Bautista has home runs!) She has been appointed to every major award in Canada, and has several academic titles as well, including honorary degrees. Kreviazuk added the initials “BFF” to her other titles-Best Friend Forever. Dr. Nutt’s experiences over the past ten years are chronicled in the book, Damned Nations-Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid, recently published by McClelland and Stewart.


Dr. Nutt addressed the gathering briefly before Kreviazuk took the stage. She explained her relationship with War Child as a founder more than ten years ago, and emphasized its importance. “A woman’s economic development will determine whether or not her child will reach his or her fifth birthday. What we needed to know was: ‘How do you reach these women who are high risk?’’


Much of the work involves literacy and skills training, which comes with a significant cost: $ 4000 to $ 5 000 per year. The women who are chosen for the program must receive permission from their husbands to participate. Most are sceptical before they begin the program.


Dr. Nutt sited the example of Shima, a mother of seven children. She and her husband collected vegetables which were discarded by garden marketers, and sold them to the poor. Following a year of training in the program, she was able to start a tailoring business. Her first employee was her husband! She now has fifty employees, and their children are all in school.  Shima noted the biggest difference in their lives: “Before this program, in my family, my husband was the president. Now”, she added, “I am the president!”


                                                     James Hurst and Dr. Sam Nutt
Dr. Nutt noted that change may be incremental, but in time will be monumental. As indicated, the event was held to raise funds for the War Child effort. Donations can be made at:, or by calling toll free: 1-866-927-2445.


Chantal was accompanied by Karen Graves, from Caledon. She provided sweet waves on her violin, and enhanced Kreviazuk’ vocals with fine harmony.


Most of the attendees were impressed with the power and the splendour of Chantal’s voice. She mixed in Randy Newman’s “Feels Like Home” with “Before You”, dedicated to her husband, Raine Maida, a fine musician in his own right with “Our Lady Peace”. She borrowed an old John Denver classic, “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane”, with just enough personal panache to make it a huge hit for herself.


Her between song banter was perfect. Not conceited, most personal. Her tale about song selection, as required by her mother’s druggist, was hilarious, without being too critical. She gave us her mother’s favourite song, “All I can do”. She closed with a couple of encores, “I love you” for her husband, and “Invincible”.


Kudos to Dr, Jonathan Kerr and Christy Wagner for spearheading the effort to arrange such an evening. One can only hope for more to come.



James Hurst


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