Addicts and Angels – Sistema Toronto

One of the most powerful and most enduring gifts one can give is the gift of music. To learn, to play, to create, and to listen; music is a powerful and positive force. Unfortunately not everyone is able to access music on all of those levels, even those who can benefit from it the most. And that’s where this weeks angels come in: Sistema Toronto.

Sistema Toronto is a charitable organization with a mission to foster beneficial permanent social change through free music education for young children from marginalized families.

Sistema’s Playing to Potential music and social development program is currently run out of four priority schools across Toronto: Yorkwoods Public School near Jane/Finch, Parkdale Public School in Parkdale, Military Trail Public School and St. Martin de Porres Catholic School in East Scarborough. Sistema’s program provides 10 hours per week of intensive after-school music education during the school year, including instruction in strings, percussion, and choir.

In addition to music instruction, each child receives instruments and a daily nutritious snack, all free of charge.

Thanks to Sistema, potentially at risk youth are able to spend their time in a constructive and positive way. They get the chance to develop confidence, and are given the ability to express themselves through the age old art of music. But in order to continue their amazing work, Sistema needs the community’s help. And that’s where you come in.

On Sunday April 9th, Sistema Toronto will be holding its annual Red Violin Fundraiser. This year, they’re hosting a ‘casual gala’ at the Gladstone Hotel. Friends, families, and donors of Sistema Toronto will get a chance to socialize with good food, drinks, silent auction and of course, musical entertainment.

The event will be hosted by Indie 88 radio personality Lana Gay and will include performances by Brooklyn Doran, Abigail Lapell and Neil Braithwaite. 

Lana Gay is a Canadian radio personality and music journalist. She is currently heard on Indie 88 in Toronto and was a longtime host on CBC Radio 3. Lana is also the host of the Polaris Podcast, and is a self-described music nerd and Dolly Parton superfan.

Brooklyn Doran is a Toronto-based indie folk songstress. The sing-songwriter’s music presents a unique blend of traditional folk and contemporary pop. Her live show weaves song and storytelling, from humorous anecdotes to emotional ballads, to delightfully folk-infused love song. Brooklyn’s newest full-length album ‘These Paper Wings’ is now available worldwide.

Abigail Lapell is a folk-noir songwriter in Toronto. A fluid lyricist and multi-instrumentalist, Lapell’s music draws freely from folk-roots, indie and punk-rock traditions. She received the Ontario Arts Council’s 2016 Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, and NOW Toronto named her one of its ‘Musicians to Watch” in 2017. Her sophomore album, Hide Nor Hair, was produced by Chris Stringer and released January 2017 through Coax Records/Outside.

Neil Braithwaite was born in Montreal, with West Indian roots in Barbados. Now based in Toronto, Neil performs on his alto saxophone with some of Canada’s best jazz artists. Neil also provides musical direction for television shows and live events, and recently performed at the Toronto Jazz Festival. Neil’s son is in the Sistema Toronto program at Parkdale Public School

The Gladstone is the event’s venue sponsor and beverages will be provided by Ciroc Vodka, Bulleit Bourbon and Hog Town Brewery.



The Red Violin Fundraiser

Sunday, April 9, 2017
7:30 pm
The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West

All proceeds from the event will go toward the implementation of the Sistema Toronto program.

For more info:

Tickets: $75 through Eventbrite

If you want to do your part to help Sistema Toronto continue their important work, join the party on April 9th, or head over to to learn what you can do to help this incredible cause.

Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Addicted Magazine. Her myriad of addictions include music, fashion, travel, technology, boxing and trying to make the world a better place. Nadia is also a feminist, an animal lover, and a neverending dreamer. Keep up with her on social media through @thenadiae.
Nadia Elkharadly