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February 2011 - Nr. 2

Health Arts Society of Ontario (HASO) and the City of Toronto launched the ArtsWay series of concerts today at City of Toronto long-term care home Castleview Wychwood Towers (351 Christie St.). Cast members of Canadian Opera Company's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute generously performed a 45-minute concert of excerpts from the opera for the benefit of the home's residents, featuring vocalists Simone Osborne and Frederic Antoun with COC Music Director Johannes Debus at the piano. This was the first in a pilot series of 40 Health Arts Society ArtsWay concerts at the City's ten long-term care homes.

The City of Toronto is Ontario's largest not-for-profit long-term care provider, providing the highest level of care and customer service to approximately 2,600 residents in 10 long-term care homes. Toronto Long-Term Care Homes and Services is committed to ensuring residents' quality of life as it pertains to their physical, psychological and emotional well-being. The division offers a range of arts programs, including art therapy, music therapy, and a range of volunteer performances. "This new professional-level musical experience is a wonderful addition to the menu of life-enriching programs we offer our residents," said Toronto Long-Term Care Homes and Services General Manager Sandra Pitters.

The Canadian Opera Company's production of The Magic Flute runs from January 29 to February 25 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. COC General Director, Alexander Neef, noted that "the launch of this concert series signifies an important step toward increasing the accessibility of arts and cultural programming in Toronto. The Canadian Opera Company is proud to collaborate with Health Arts Society of Ontario to draw attention to this commendable initiative."

Health Arts Society of Ontario is grateful to the Canadian Opera Company and to the superb cast for making this concert available. It reflects the highest aspiration of Health Arts Society of Ontario; to reflect professional music making for the benefit of those no longer able to attend performances in the community. Health Arts Society of Ontario is one of a group of Canadian charities dedicated to providing to people isolated in long-term care, particularly frail elders, the enjoyment and stimulation of professionally performed music. The Society plans to deliver 400 concerts in Ontario long-term care homes in 2011.

Associate organizations of Health Arts Society of Ontario, which support and espouse the values of its work, include the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Toronto Faculty of Music.

BMO Financial Group is generously providing initial funding for this program. BMO Financial Group's leadership enables of the Ontario debut of the program, one that is already established in British Columbia and Quebec. By the end of 2011, Health Arts Societies will be established in all provinces.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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