Sisters of Soul was once again a success, organizers say.
Organizer Rhanda Bonet-Graham said each year the concert raises more money. This year’s donations are still being totaled, but are already over $2,000 which beats the $1,800 raised last year and $800 the year before.
Those who attended the concert were treated to a showcase of talent from Canadian University College students, staff and alumni. Sisters of Soul featured 13 performances by female artists and their accompaniments in a wide variety of different mediums and genres.
“Every year brings exciting new performers,” said Bonet-Graham. “But the cause, the desire, the passion to make a difference does not change.”
Bonet-Graham founded the concert along with a group of her classmates while she was a student of music at the Canadian University College in 1999.
It was then held annually for five years and then had a hiatus until 2012.
When Bonet-Graham and her classmates graduated, no one else stepped in to continue holding the concert and it was not held due to this lack of internal support. Eight years later, Andrea Luxton, then president of CUC, approached CUC staff member Bernice Leavitt to see what could be done to bring back the concert.
Leavitt received some funding for Sisters of Soul through CUC and the concert was held again in 2012 and every year since.
Last year, Bonet-Graham returned to CUC as a staff member and resumed her involvement with the concert as well.
“Of course, I didn’t hesitate to get back into it,” said Bonet-Graham with a smile. She also commended Leavitt for her dedication to the concert and the CUC for its financial support.
Bonet-Graham lost her mother to breast cancer when her mother was 37 and Bonet-Graham was 12. When her classmates began throwing around the idea of holding an annual concert, Bonet-Graham suggested they hold it in support of women and breast cancer research. “I thought what better way to honour my mom and raise some money?”said Bonet-Graham.
Bonet-Graham added she thought a music concert in support of women and breast cancer research was a good fit given her background in music.
“Music is such an important thing in my life and it’s a language that everyone can understand,” said Bonet-Graham. “It’s something that connects us all.”
For Bonet-Graham, the Sisters of Soul concert is important not just for her, but for everyone whose life has been touched by breast cancer.
“My experience, unfortunately, is not unique,” said Bonet-Graham. “I’m not the only little girl who’s lost her mom to breast cancer. We really wanted to do this event so that it wouldn’t happen as often as it does.”