Library unveils new baby grand piano at 50th anniversary kickoff concert

As the city councillor responsible for library and culture, I was honoured to attend the formal kickoff for 50th anniversary ceremonies of the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library.  We did so on June 22 at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium. A nice crowd was on hand to watch rising-star pianist Emie R. Roussell and her jazz trio perform the concert Quantum, featuring music from their critically acclaimed CD of the same title.

With Mayor Brownstein in front of our new piano.

We also  inaugurated  the library’s new baby grand piano. We were able to acquire this gem of an instrument through various fundraising initiatives, including our heartfelt 88 Keys to Music Campaign, allowing us to honour donors’ names on a plaque we unveiled just prior to the concert. Since the piano will require upkeep, we are still taking $88 donations.


Winners of the Felix Award for Best Jazz Album 2015, critics and jazz lovers alike are unanimously referring to the Emie R. Roussell trio as “one-to-watch.” They performed for just about an hour and everyone at home enjoyed their excellent music. I spoke with Emie after the show. She was very complimentary towards our new piano. I reminded her that she made history, by becoming the first person to ever use it. As they packed up their equipment the trio was preparing for a musical trip to Japan. Upon their return they will be part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Originally from the South Shore of Montreal and now an adopted resident of Rimouski, Emie discovered the fascinating world of music through her parents, themselves musicians and singers. She began studying classical piano at the age of five and continued lessons until she was 13. After a complete two-year break, she decided to follow her instincts and her love of improvisation to begin studying jazz with her father, jazz pianist Martin Roussel. He would be her mentor until she started studies at Cégep de St-Laurent college under the guidance of Lorraine Desmarais. She completed her diploma in jazz piano interpretation and was awarded the college’s “Very High Distinction” grant. In 2008, Emie made her entrance at Université de Montréal in jazz piano interpretation with Luc Beaugrand and completed her bachelor’s degree in May 2011. Since then, she has been a teacher and accompanist for the Jazz-Pop program at Cégep de Rimouski college in Rimouski, Quebec. In June 2015, she won the CALQ Award – Creator of the Year in Bas-St-Laurent.  

Emmie on the piano.

The other members of her trio are Dominic Cloutier on drums and Nicolas Bédard on electric and acoustic bass.

A look at the new piano.

Thanks again to Library Director Janine West and her staff, particularly Danielle Belanger and Justin Burnham.  Mayor Mitchell Brownstein provided opening remarks. Councillors Glenn J. Nashen, Dida Berku, Ruth Kovac and Sidney Benizri joined us for this historic night.

This is much more than a library, for our staff coordinate a wide array of cultural events. Please take a look at our upcoming calendar.


You can always visit or contact the library’s Programs Department at 514-485-6900, ext. 4205.

CSL launches "88 Keys to Music" campaign to buy a Baby Grand

As the  Cote Saint-Luc city councillor responsible for Library and Culture, I am excited to be initiating a fundraising campaign to purchase a baby grand piano to be used for programs held in the Harold Greenspon Auditorium in the Bernard Lang Civic Centre.

There are 88 keys on a standard piano. As a result the “88 Keys to Music” campaign will enable people to sponsor a key for $88. In recognition, the names of donors will be placed on a plaque in the shape of a piano keyboard which will be permanently mounted outside the entrance to the Harold Greenspon Auditorium. In addition, the City of Cote Saint-Luc is seeking corporate sponsorships of $500 each. Corporate donors will be recognized on the plaque as well.


I think this is a wonderful opportunity for those who appreciate all of the wonderful musical programs presented by the Eleanor London Cote Saint Luc Public Library, the Cote Saint Luc Dramatic Society and other groups in our auditorium to contribute to buy a piano to enhance these programs.

Some of the funds for this campaign have already been raised via the annual library book sale. This includes our most recent event, October 18 and 19,  in which $3,500 was raised.

Library Director Janine West is encouraging those who frequent the library and individual businesses to consider contributing. Cheques can be made out to the City of Côte Saint-Luc, c/o of the 88 keys to music campaign, 5801 Cavendish Boulevard, H4W 3CX3. They can also be dropped off at the circulation desk of the main library and the Library Express at the Aquatic and Community Centre. You can also email Tax receipts will be provided.

Carol's Shoe Museum
Carol's Shoe Museum.

Artist Carol Rabinovitch, who is also a Library Ambassador, has pledged 25 percent of sales from her current "Aromas on Canvas" show at Chez Fred Boulangerie and Patisserie (5338 Sherbrooke West, corner Prud'homme, near Decarie) which has been extended to November 7. Check out her blog at, where many more colourful and whimsical artworks can be found.  You can email her at



2014 Cat's Meow concert raises funds and provides great entertainment

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.

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Joseph Milo and his orchestra take a bow. (Rami Negev photo)

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.

Lang Award
Sam Goldbloom, Anthony Housefather, Dylan Lang, Miriam Lang, David Lang and Mike Cohen. (Rami Negev photo)

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.

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Mike Cohen, Sam Goldbloom, Diane Liebling and Shelley Schecter. (Rami Negev photo)

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.


Major dance competition coming to CSL Saturday, September 24

Excitement is building in the City of Côte Saint-Luc for the prestigious sixth annual La Relance 2011 competition on Saturday, September 24 (1 p.m. to 11 p.m).  Mayor Anthony Housefather and members of city council are thrilled that Danse Sport Québec chose the Côte Saint-Luc Gymnasium to hold  this large scale event. 

Here is an example of the kind of excitement you can expect:


More than 500 people are expected to be in attendance to watch  latin (cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble and jive)  and standard  (waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese  waltz and the  quick step) ballroom dance routines, featuring competitors from Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and even Vermont. There will also be championship rounds in the youth, adult and senior categories, with competitors ranging from the age of 11 to 60 plus.  Jean-Francois Rousseau, the president of Danse Sport Québec, will be on the dance floor as well with his wife and dance partner Nathalie Ladouceur (pictured below).  The couple practice and train with many of the stars who have performed on the recent edition of So You Think You Can Dance Canada.  They are the 10 Dances  Quebec Senior 1 champions.

Danny Arbour (pictured at the bottom), who was a top 10 finalist in the first season of So You Think You Can Dance Canada and season two top two finalist Vincent Desjardins,  will be in attendance as will  other past competitors from the hit CTV show and perhaps even some surprise guests.

 “The Quebec Danse Sport Federation is an organization which brings together amateur dancers in this province,” Rousseau explains. “Our goal is to promote dance. All of the people who work with us do so on a volunteer basis.


François Pruneau et Amélie Nadeau “Our competitions,” he continued, “can be compared to figure skating as all of the couples  in each category perform together at the same time on the dance floor. Judges must deliberate at the same time. Our music is not decided in advance. We only know the type of dance that will be required. We are very excited to be be holding this competition in Côte St-Luc puisque as the people there have been very nice and accomodating and  the facility is nice."

Francois Pruneau (right), who made this season's SYTYCDC Top 10, has been part of this competition tin the past.

Tickets cost $35 for adults and $15 for children.  Côte St-Luc residents who show their Fun Cards will benefit from a reduced rate of  $15  for adults and $5 for teenagers and children 16 years and younger . For more information go to  or call 514-418-TANGo (8264).