I was proud to steer the ship once again for the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee's (CSLCC) third summer fundraising concert , held on Tuesday, August 26 at the former Wagar High School.The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra were outstanding. Ditto for soprano Brigitte O' Halleran and singer Alexandra Cohen, who doubled as emcee. Thanks to Councillor Sam Goldbloom for serving as co-chair with me, to event coordinator Alvin Fishman for his tireless work, Communications and Public Affairs Manager Regine Banon for taking care of publicity needs and a cast of many more.
We had a crowd of more than 350 people on hand. Funds raised went towards our CSLCC Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program and our partner organization Educhat, run by the extraordinary Shelley Schecter.
The Music We Love: Best of the Classics – the Cat’s Meow was the theme. We began with a tribute to the late Mayor Bernard Lang, who was a member of our committee and a true cat lover. His wife Miriam, son David and grandson Dylan accepted our special certificate of merit. Miriam confided to me that her family continues to feed homeless cats. Mayor Anthony Housefather, whom along with members of council has been very supportive of our group, gave words of welcome.
Our newly elected Liberal MNA for D'Arcy McGee David Birnbaum was unable to attend,but he did send a nice message which Councillor Goldbloom read. "As member of the National Assembly, I am proud to support this event," he stated. "I’ve been pleased to discuss Côte Saint-Luc’s visionary approach to animal welfare with my colleague Pierre Paradis, Ministre de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation, with a view to having other municipalities follow your fine example. I expect that cats across Côte Saint-Luc will be proudly purring along to the beautiful music you are about to hear!"
Mr. Birnbaum has informed us that a $500 donation from his office will be directed towards the CSLCC, a tradition started by his predecessor Lawrence Bergman. Via District 2 resident Howard Liebman, we also received encouraging words from Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who tabled animal protection motions in the House of Commons recently.
Lily Percs and a nice delegation from her Women's Group (Chomedy Branch) of Stamp out Violence attended, with transportation provided by Preferance Motor Coach.
Our most worthy honouree this year was Diane Liebling, one of the key players in the CSLCC. She has virtually given up the use of her own family garage - her family members park outdoors even on frigid winter days– so that space can be made available for homeless cats. Diane fosters these cats; in many cases she has fallen so deeply in love that she has adopted. Shelley Shecter often says : “If only we could clone Diane.” Diane Liebling has saved the lives of countless cats in CSL. She is a model for all of us. We presented her with a certificate and a nice gift donated by Norm Zimmerman of Steve's Music Store.
There are many feral cats in the community. The CSLCC’s team of volunteers sets out to trap as many as possible, have them sterilized and then adopted or returned to the spot where they were originally found. The committee has also rescued a number of kittens and found homes for them. The city’s first ever cat licensing bylaw was adopted last year and we have already seen some success from it.
The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (MWSO) was founded in 2006 by conductor Milo and his wife Lucy Ravinsky. This one of a kind orchestra was formed when it was discovered that a great pool of professional musicians, recently immigrated to Montreal, had no opportunity to make use of their valuable talent in their new home. The MWSO was created, not only to provide these new Canadians with the opportunity to engage in their main passion; making beautiful music in an orchestral setting, but to give them back the professional dignity they had enjoyed in their homelands and most especially, to share their wonderful talents with the music lovers of Montreal. They are a treasure and we remain lucky to have them.
Below is a video of the entire evening, done by CSL Director of Public Affairs, Communications and IT Darryl Levine:
Thanks to all of our committee members, some of whom baked goods for an intermission fundraising sale and to the staff at the Marymount Adult Education Centre. Principal Jacques Monfette, educational advisor Hipolito Corral and caretakers Michel Leblanc and Brenda Pion. Michel really performed above and beyond the call of duty, serving as our de facto sound advisor.
From this evening we did get some new committee members. We also hope some folks heard our message and will consider adopting a cat. Diane has a few beauties looking for good homes right now.