#SPOTTED: STEVIE WONDER, KIESZA, PETER CETERA, MICHAEL BOLTON AND MORE AT THE 2015 DAVID FOSTER FOUNDATION MIRACLE GALA + CONCERT
Often when we think of fundraisers, we think of generating money towards research and cost of medical procedures. Sometimes however, we forget the peripheral costs involved for families and in the instance of children awaiting vital organ transplants, it is important to note the financial, in addition to emotional impacts involved. The loss of salary for some parents taking time away from work to care for their child, plus the stresses of making mortgage payments, travel expenses, car payments, gas, groceries, etc. are an extra-challenging reality for those families impacted. 16-time Grammy winner David Foster is on a mission to aid financially those families requiring assistance in these cases.
Taking place at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, the David Foster Foundation Miracle Gala and Concert drew a star-studded line-up of guests to the purple carpet tonight, headlined by a performance from international megastar Stevie Wonder as he zipped through his greatest hits before a lucky, intimate audience. Together with a line-up which included the likes of Michael Bolton, Kiesza, Howard Dell, Peter Cetera, Brian Williams, Premier Kathleen Wynne, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, an astonishing tally of $6.5 million was raised this evening. The foundation’s goal is to raise $30 million total by its 30th anniversary come 2017.
Also this evening, two Visionary Awards were handed-out. Gregg Saretsky, President & CEO of WestJet (one of this evening’s major sponsors), received the award for National Business Leader of the Year. The National Humanitarian Leader of the Year went to Simon Keith, who has the distinction of being both an organ donor advocate and the first professional athlete in the world to play a professional sport after undergoing a heart transplant.
Although being advised with confidence David Foster and Stevie Wonder would walk the purple carpet to speak to media, alas only a few outlets had the chance to speak to the duo before they were ushered off. We did however, have the pleasure of chatting with a few of the evening’s stars and this is what they had to say about the foundation.
Former Chicago frontman and acclaimed vocalist Peter Cetera: “Whenever I can help and it happens to coincide with my schedule, it’s a wonderful cause. And when you can work music into it, that’s important”, says the Idaho resident who will be on tour this fall, with a stop soon in Niagara Falls.
Actor Howard Dell, who has starred on Young and the Restless: “I came to be involved three years ago in Victoria, BC when I met David and started to learn about foundation. Luckily, David and I got to perform at the gala – the start of a singing career in hibernation for 15 years!”. “Having gone through a transplant suffering financial burdens of it, etc. when you see the foundation come in and alleviates the burdens, it’s a tremendous relief for the parents.”. Dell also is a huge fan of Steven Wonder and sang a couple lines of Overjoyed, expressing his excitement for the evening’s main attraction.
International hit-recording artist Kiesza: “I’ve always known about foundation since childhood. I’m a huge David Foster fan, so it’s surreal being involved with it. It’s helping save children’s lives and acknowledges the families, the siblings. It’s about all the people affected by the situation. It’s really a ‘miracle’ foundation like they say.”. The singer tells us her next album will be an “evolution”, building on some elements of her debut disc, Sound of a Woman.
To learn more about the David Foster Foundation and how you can contribute, click here.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
#TIFF13: MR. WILL’S HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2013 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
With great sadness, we must say farewell to another TIFF. And with fatigue, a limp in my right foot and great pain in my neck today after a gruelling run these past 11 days, I look back at the happy times, the regrets and what TIFF ’14 might hold. Despite all these mixed emotions, I know it won’t be long before I’m begging for more! I live for the Toronto International Film Festival – the greatest in Film Festival the World – and wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.
Here’s a look back at some of the Highlights for me of the Festival in Compiled Lists:
MR. WILL’S MOST GRACIOUS 10
Anyone who encountered these Stars up-close and personal during TIFF ’13 can vouch that they deserve a warm round of applause for the respect, appreciation and courtesy they’ve shown our City. Whether it be Jessica Chastain‘s consistent grace and humility towards her Fans, Brad Pitt‘s surprise Red Carpet appearance in which he took several Photos with Fans at the 12 Years a Slave Premiere, Hugh Jackman stopping in the rain outside the Press Conference for Prisoners to meet and great all his Supporters individually – these Stars understand exactly what the Festival is all about for us Fans!
1. Jessica Chastain
2. Sandra Bullock
3. Tom Hiddleston
4. Daniel Radcliffe
5.. Brad Pitt
6. Josh Brolin
7. Hugh Jackman
8. Jennifer Aniston
9. Nicolas Cage
10. Emma Thompson
MR. WILL’S SUCCESSFUL 6
These six Films gained a great amount of buzz and momentum coming out of TIFF ’13 in advance of their forthcoming Awards Season Best Picture Campaigns. Sadly, August: Osage Country didn’t wind up getting critical love universally (I enjoyed it much!) hoped for, but it still remains a major Contender in the Acting categories – especially for a heartbreakingly-absent Queen Meryl Streep.
1. 12 Years a Slave
2. Labor Day
3. Dallas Buyers Club
MR. WILL’S EMERGING 5
These five up-and coming Stars caused quite a stir wherever they spotted around TIFF ’13. This time next year, expect to know them pretty much on a first name-basis.
1. Benedict Cumberbatch
2. Emilia Clarke
3. Daniel Brühl
4. Jai Courtney
5. Taylor Schilling
MR. WILL’S NAUGHTY LIST
Although we try to keep things positive here, we remain hopeful that next time these Stars visit our City, they show us a bit more Fan Appreciation – not just only when the Cameras are on – than they showed this year. Little things like picking-up a Sharpie or taking time to pose for Photos with Fans, or maybe not distancing themselves a 15 feet from the Barricades where their Fans had queued for hours to see them, would be a first step. In all fairness, some had hyper-assertive Handlers or lateness to blame.
1. Benedict Cumberbatch
2. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
3. Scarlett Johansson
4. Mila Kunis
5. Emilia Clarke
MR. WILL’S FASHIONABLE 5
These Stars certainly made a Statement whether it be out and about in our City or on the Red Carpet. I still cannot get over Kitsch‘s gray-on-gray Suit he wore at the Premiere of The Grand Seduction and certainly was a bit obsessed with Toni Collette‘s new Bangs. Julia Roberts was a Vision in her Dolce & Gabbana Dress at the Premiere of August: Osage County too, but my favourite look was Sandra Bullock at the Gravity Premiere in Narciso Rodriguez!
1. Sandra Bullock
2. Julia Roberts
3. Taylor Kitsch
4. Toni Collette
5. Jessica Chastain
And who exactly did Mr. Will got a Photo-with at TIFF ’13?
Ben Cotton, Dane Cook, Jason Reitman, Josh Brolin, Nicole Kidman, Anika Noni Rose, Bill Condon, Donnie Wahlberg, Paul Wahlberg, Jack Huston, Tom Arnold, John Torturro, Lauren Lee Smith, Sami Gayle, Mary Walsh, Saoirse Ronan, Michael C. Hall, Tye Sheridan, Katie Boland, Aaron Abrams, Kelly Rowan, Daniel Radcliffe, Taylor Schilling, Effie Exarchopoulos, Dan Stevens, Daniel Brühl, Alicia Vikander, Tom Hiddleston, deadmau5, Carice Van Houten, Tom Welling, Vanessa Paradis, Michael Bolton, Alice Cooper, Taylor Kitsch, Toni Collette, Dakota Fanning, Jai Courtney, Ciaran Hinds, Jessica Chastain, Emilia Clarke, Jared Harris, Adelaide Kane, James Lafferty, Jennifer Morrison, David Arquette, Alfre Woodard, Ryan Kwanten, Catherine O’Hara, Mark Boone Junior, Will Forte, Emma Thompson, Cara Gee, Demian Bichir, Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, Alfonso Cuaron, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Thompson (again!), Lea Seydoux, Robert Baker, Amanda Walsh, Adam Driver, Keanu Reeves and Nicolas Cage.
To re-visit some of the amazing names that I snapped in the City over the Festival, click here.
To read some of my Reviews of the Films that premiered at TIFF ’13, click here. More Reviews to come over the next day or two as I play catch-up after all the madness.
…until next year, Wongsters!
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
*Photos taken on Samsung Galaxy S4 and Olympus E-PL5