BY RYAN WELLICOME
Canadian-German opera singer and Lacombe native Anna Maria Kaufmann is set to perform a charity fundraising concert in Red Deer on Nov. 1st.
The concert is being held by the Lacombe Rotary Daybreak Club and will be held in the CrossRoads Church auditorium.
“This is where I am from. To come back here and sing is the biggest honour,” said Kaufmann. “There is no where in the world I would rather sing than here.”
Rotary Daybreak Club member Don Gullekson expressed the Club has high hopes for the endeavour.
“As a small club, it is really excitiing for us to be involved with Anna on this project. It takes (our event) to another level,” he said. “To have her here is a real pleasure for us.”
The Lacombe Rotary Daybreak Club is part of the global organization Rotary International whose mandate is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services.
Rotary International’s largest global project is PolioPlus and contributes to the global eradication of polio. The local fundraiser is to benefit this cause.
“(The eradication of polio) is Rotary’s biggest commitment to the world,” said Club member Dave Jardine who has spearheaded the effort to get Kaufmann involved with the fundraiser.
Gullekson added it is a curable disease that affects many. “We are so close to getting rid of it. There are just a few places left that it affects.”
Polio is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. In many cases it causes flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all, but in other cases it can infect the central nervous system and can progress to paralytic disease, causing loss of muscle strength and control and even partial or full paralysis.
There were only 100 recorded cases of the disease in 2015 but remains active in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
According to Gullekson, the funds raised for polio at the concert will be matched by Bill Gates.
Kaufmann was trained in classical singing in Dusseldorf, Germany and has achieved musical fame in Europe. She has released three albums, produced many singles and won numerous award. Her first album, a soundtrack of her performance in Phantom of the Opera has sold more than two million copies.
Kaufmann said she is looking forward to singing in front of a home crowd.
“I want us to give the public the best possible performance.,” she said.
Kaufmann performed at the opening of the Lacombe Memorial Centre and is the namesake of Anna Maria’s Cafe.
Gullekson said the event is non-formal. Tickets are $65 and can purchased online at www.eventbrite.ca or at various businesses. Businesses selling tickets in Lacombe include Strand Printing, BDO Lacombe, Wilson Funeral Chapel, FCSS or Judit Ficzere CGA Lacombe Mall.
Tickets can also be found at the Ponoka Eye Care Clinic amd the World Financial Group in Red Deer. Only cash and cheques will be accepted at businesses.