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‘Music and Magic’ to support Partera’s work for peace overseas

March 12, 2020   ·   0 Comments


Reverend LeeAnn McKenna, of Mono, has worked to build bridges of peace in some of the most dangerous conflict areas of the world – including Latin America, Asia, India, Africa and the Middle East.  

Her non-profit organization, Partera International, has been “midwifing change for a more peaceful world” for over 25 years. On March 28, her efforts will be supported by Dufferin County’s own international Opera singer Mark DuBois and professional magician Steve Baker with “Music and Magic,” a benefit concert at Westminster Church in Orangeville.

Renowned for his stunning lyric-tenor voice, Mark DuBois has performed on some of the greatest stages across the globe, and worked with the likes of famed director Hal Prince, and performed for the Queen, the Pope, and President Regan to name a few. While raising his family in Dufferin County, he began the Mark DuBois Studio Singers, where he has nurtured some of the finest vocalists in the country. 

In reference to Partera, Mark DuBois told the Free Press, “The beauty of the world must be supported by us all; which means ending violence and oppression. LeeAnn McKenna believes in promoting peace, love and equality – I believe that these values are essential in our world, and I strongly believe in Partera’s methods.”

Reverend McKenna says, her message for this concert is one of peace. That peace there is, essentially, peace here. 

“As human beings, we are in great need, perhaps as never before, of building skills in scaling barriers of unknowing – of race, gender, class, culture – if we are to survive the challenges of an unprecedented climate crisis, of mass migrations, increasing disparities of wealth and power, and a pervasive sense of anxiety and fear, fed by a growing incivility. We are not at our best, whether in families or workplaces or school grounds or societies when we are anxious and fear-filled. Every culture-crossing is fraught with potholes—and alive with possibilities for peace and collaborative action for all that is good.”

Here in Dufferin County, Partera offers training,workshops, and interactive presentations for use in schools, community support organisations, health-care entities, faith communities, and more. Reverend McKenna’s global goals for Partera in 2020, include working with South Sudanese refugees; working with members of civil society in  Ecuador and the Philippines to build capacity for peace leadership; and providing training for peaceful conflict resolution in communities across eight islands in the Philippines.

     Reverend McKenna told the Free Press, “The greatest costs of these projects are the ones you don’t see – the logistical support that makes training possible: laying the groundwork in advance; identifying people who are best prepared to take up the skills learned, and multiply them in the months and years following the trainings; transportation, lodging and food for all participants; venue rental; and learning materials.”

She says, “Partera is very good at stretching dollars, and is usually able to cover all expenses and obligations to partners with just $7,000 – laying the groundwork for peace to happen.” She says,“Filling all the seats at “Music and Magic” on March 28th at Westminster Church would be wonderful.” The funds from a full house would allow Partera “to inform partners that at least two of these projects can go ahead.” 

In support of the effort, Mark DuBois says his repertoire will be inclusive of Partera’s belief in love and peace in the world, as well as laughter and joy. 

“I will sing the bulk of the music, joined by some of my wonderful senior students who are already on a professional level,” he says. “We will intertwine this music with some magic themes.”

For his part, professional magician and actor, Steve Baker will perform interactive illusions, sleight of hand, Houdini-like escapes, and mentalism between musical sets. 

“I will bring the magic of illusion and Mark will bring the magic of music,” says the magician. “Most importantly, Partera brings the magic of love and compassion to those in need  – wherever it is needed.”

“Music and Magic,” in support of Partera’s peace building initiatives, will run one night only at Westminster United Church at 247 Broadway in Orangeville on Saturday, March 28th starting at 7 pm. Tickets are $35 in advance by phoning or texting 416-436-3257 or $40 at the door. Light refreshments available by donation.

Reverend McKenna hopes the community will buy tickets and tell neighbours, friends and family about the show. 

“Consider support for something out there in the world somewhere,” she says, “to be support for all of us right here, building civility, kindness, goodness, and a mutuality of understanding across bridges.”



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