Story & audio: Cait Hoock
When someone handed Kristine Dandavino a meal ticket, something clicked and she imagined what her life would be like living in poverty.
“There’s not a look to poverty, and that hit me,” she says. “I’m fortunate to have enough money to raise my daughter, but it really hit home.”
So she put her thinking cap on and asked herself what she can do to give back. Singing and organizing events came to her mind; it’s what she does best.
Dandavino is a classical pianist and singer. She completed her degree at the University of Ottawa, where she then travelled to the States and around Canada to finish her post-grad internships. She’s also been organizing fundraisers since the age of 15.
So after two months of non-stop planning, Dandavino is set to launch the first-ever Musicians Against Hunger, a gala to benefit the Simcoe Street United Church Back Door Mission.
“We help all kinds of people from different walks of life who just need some support,” says Dandavino. “We’re not a food bank or a clothing agency.”
The concert will host between 12 and 15 musicians from across Ontario. From Jazz to Opera, there will be a dose of musical culture for everyone to enjoy.
“I don’t know if we’ve had such a large event of classical musicians who are coming to a community they don’t know and are donating their time,” she says. “I think our community needs to witness that and know that you don’t have to go to Toronto to see a quality show.”
At the end of the evening, Dandavino hopes to have raised $1,000. It may seem optimistic, she says, but considering the caliber of the lineup, and that tickets would sell for nearly $50 regularly, she’s confident that people will be generous with cash donations.
“I can raise $1,000. Oshawa can do this,” she says. “Someone can give me $20 without sweating it.”
But if money is tight and you still want to watch the show, she says a non-perishable food item will be much appreciated.
“We’re looking for granola bars and toothpaste. We’re very short on that,” she says. “Granola bars are convenient and will fill someone up quick, and oral care is very important to us.”
So if you want to give back and enjoy some classic entertainment, be sure to head down to the Simcoe Street United Church tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.