Rocked & Raised Funds for
Crohn's & Colitis Canada Gala
in Vaughan, Ontario 
May 9th, 2018
Crohn's & Colitis Canada is proudly in its 44th year & they hosted their Annual Gala May 9th to raise education, awareness & funds all in support of the 250,000 Canadians living with Crohn's disease or Ulcerative Colitis, the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in young children & adults today.
The evening was held at the elegant & state of the art
  Universal Event Space 
on Highway 7 in Vaughan, Ontario, 
which saw well over 900 guests/donators attend the decored hall of elegance.
Lali Mohamed (seen immediately above) has a genuine persona with a huge heart full of energetic positivity.  He is a well-known intellect in the fundraising realm who is 1 of the best strategic & creative events development professionals in the Country, who helps charities meet their revenue goals with large-scale fundraising venues with intimate donor experiences that inspire philanthropic support.
Crohn's and Colitis Canada was co-founded in 1974 by 
Don Lebovitz, & Marilyn Finkelstein.  
Marilyn is seen here posing above with her grandchildren.
They formed in 1974, a volunteer-based committee of concerned parents that were looking for a cure to help their children & others living with the disease.  Today, it has expanded to over 45 volunteer chapters across Canada & has invested over $1,000,000 to date into research to which fuels treatments & further studies that aid in finding the triggers & hopeful causes thru implementation of the GEM Project which stands for Genetic Environmental & Microbial changes in the lives of those living with the disease as well,  by providing camps, social groups to lead patients into programs & advocacy.
the 2018 Crohn's & Colitis Canada Gala raised a Grand Total of $1.5 M
Well over 3 dozen volunteers & CCC staff & of all ages donated their time, organizational skills & sales experience all under the expert leadership of 
Eric Berkelmans the Manager of Volunteer Engagement 
Spiri Kontos-Rangoussis the National Coordinator of Volunteer Engagement, 
both seen immediately above.
Volunteer Team Leaders during the orientation session seen immediately below.
There were only a few volunteers shown in these photos below 
as we were divided up into 2 orientation sessions. 
Volunteer orientation, getting a feel for the rooms prior to event.
Eddy Wong the Crohn's & Colitis Canada's Graphic Design & 
Production Specialist (in-house Gala Photographer).
It was my pleasure at the end of the night to attempt to gather the volunteer masses together for 1 group shot, alas, everyone was extremely busy & as the shifts came to an end, a few made it my way on the Red Carpet as you will see below.

The staff at the fantastic Universal Event Space did a splendid job in creating the beautiful
atmosphere, a true sight to see, including the mind-blowing stage set up as well.
Canadian music Icon Randy Bachman has serviced the rock n roll realm for close to 6 decades now thru various forms, fondly recognized as the lead guitarist, songwriter & 1 of the founding members of both the legendary Guess Who & Bachman–Turner Overdrive, not to mention he is currently a CBC radio personality on Vinyl Tap.  

Randy & his 4 piece dove right into his in-depth catalogue which encompassed many eras as he kicked it into high gear, setting the mood with his new original, 
"Between Two Mountains" from his 2018 release 'By George By Bachman'
This showcase spoke volumes!  Next, he took us into his time machine with hits ranging from "Shakin All Over" (The Guess Who) right into Bachman Turner Overdrive's  
"Roll on Down The Highway," "Hey You," "Let It Ride," "Looking Out For #1" with anticipation, the audience waited to hear "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" & "Taking Care of Business."  He perfected his son Tal Bachman's #1 hit "She's So High" & he nailed the Beatles cover "Here Comes The Sun."  I missed portions of this rare performance as well, missed the encore(s) as my duties called me back to the Red Carpet outside the hall
 & my ride arrived early.
Since 1965, Randy Bachman has sold over 40 million records & earned over 120 gold & platinum album/singles awards around the world & continues to engage his legions of fans.  He holds #1 spots on radio playlists in over 20 countries & he remains the only Canadian from his era to have been inducted twice into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
I guess it is my turn to contribute my story.  I was born a 6-week preemie with my eyebrows & fingernails not fully developed, as well, my bowel was not quite fully produced.  I was a regular weekly at the Emerg. Dept. at Soldier's Memorial Hospital in Orillia, Ontario where I was born.  I had to be disimpacted, as my bowel could not function.   As I grew older, inflammation increased rapidly & by the age of 17, I was collapsing with high temperatures & searing gut pain, not to mention gas & bleeding.  I blacked out at work over top of a grill & woke up in hospital.  I tried Asacol, Pentasa you name it, none of it absorbed & by the time I was 29, I ended up losing my entire large intestine: 1.5 meters or 5 feet of transversing, descending, ascending Colon, Cecum & Sigmoid Colon.  It is a struggle most days with diet, frequent bathroom visits up to 12 a day, B12 injections in my shoulder & abdomen on a rotational basis, though, since 1999 bowel resection, my monthly stays in hospital have decreased by 80%, no more infusions, have had a reduced use of steroids, but, the weight gain is the sad trade-off due to it messing up my thyroid causing damage to my vocal chords & fatty deposits on my liver & pancreas, not to mention my Osteoporosis, Chronic spinal pain, inflamed knees & hip issues as well, all side effects of Crohn's Disease.   With organizations like this, I know I am not alone.  It is an honour & a privilege to be a volunteer & be apart of the top-notch team, who make a difference in the lives of over a quarter of a million Canadians that suffer like me.   
My volunteer position was entitled "Step & Repeat" on the RED CARPET, photographing 1,000 of donators, attendees, staff & volunteers that come out in support of this magical evening.  
As the evening came to a close for me, something special occurred!!

I was so excited to meet another media influence in my life, Crystal Goomansingh.  I have followed in awe for many years, as she has a courageous media sense of nature.  She was the event's MC who just happens to be an award-winning Global News Canadian Anchor & Journalist Veteran.  I was amazed to follow her travels & courage as a Journalist in Kandahar during the Afghan War. 

All in all it was a very educational evening!  

I am looking forward to working this outstanding event once again in 2019. 

If you would like to volunteer or make a donation to this worthwhile cause, visit 

Daniel Davies INTERVIEW

with a Multi Instrumentalist, Recording Artist, Music Producer, Voice Actor,
Music Teacher (The Davies Music Academy) and my philosopher king
Daniel Davies.
PHOTO by Deb Draper

Deb:        When did you first pick up a guitar and sing your first note? 
Daniel:    "When I was 5. I came home from a Christmas assembly and figured Jingle Bell rock by ear on the piano.  Played piano and drums for 4 years before I picked up a guitar at age 9."

Deb:        When did you realize entertaining was going to be a strong part of your life? 
Daniel:    "Went pro when I was 17."

Deb:        When you refer to pro, can you elaborate a little more?
Daniel:     "Going pro: playing on the road full time. Began working at Cedar Tree Recording Studio in Kitchener at 18. Produced my first single at 20 for a local country band that I was in with Michael Carey. and had radio airplay."

Deb:         Do you recall your first song you ever penned?
Daniel:     "First song I wrote was called 'Shine."

Deb:         How many songs have you written and how many singles and albums have you recorded? 
PHOTO by John Clarke - Co-owner of Syndicate Sound Toronto.

Daniel:     " I have recorded 6 Albums, but no one knows my music commercially yet.  Though my recent  2 Country CDs "Out of the Blue" and "Ridin' With The King" (a unique blend of new country, pop and rock) have huge fan following."    

Deb:         When it comes to recognitions, describe any acknowledgements and/or awards you have received throughout your in depth career?  
Daniel:     "Not really any awards, or nominations to speak of.  At 21, I worked for an educational music company called Star Traxx with Bill Farrell.  I also played at the CCMA's in 1995."  
Photo Pamela Kohly

Deb:         Did your CCMA appearance have to do with your Keith Urban Tribute?  
Daniel:     "No, I was in a band called the 'Desert Dolphins.'   We were on just before Shania Twain, she was waiting in the wings to come on after us, & we performed & introduced nominees on TV.  "         

Deb:          Who have you performed, recorded and toured with as well, shared the stage with?   
Daniel:      "Played with Beverly Mahood, Jamie Warren, Thomas Wade and Amy Sky where we shared the stage at the CNE with the Cowboy Junkies.  Opened for Colin James and performed live at The Molson Ampitheatre for Rod Stewart's V.I.P after party. "

Deb:           Who would you say influenced your style at the beginning compared to now?
Daniel:       "Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Rush back then.  These days, John Mayer, Keith Urban, Tom Petty and Peter Gabriel.  These days I am also writing with Billboard's hit songwriter, Gary O'Connor, known as Gary O in the 80's.  He has worked with and wrote hits for 38 Special, Kim Carnes, Eddie Money and Alice Cooper just to name but a few."        

Deb:            You are a teacher while following your musical desires?  Elaborate on how you actually find time to be Daniel, amongst a day career, song-writing, performing and touring?  Daniel:        "Yes, all those things and I still do them and became a father of 5 children too.  Secret is; meditation, never ending determination and less sleep!  I'm always myself in everything I do, so I am just me in whatever I need to do next.  It's all the same no matter what the activity is.

Deb:            Voice Acting - how did this additional career come into play?  How long have you been in commercials and voice acting?  Can you share a link to your work you are signed too?  
Daniel:        " I always did voices and mimicking sounds as a kid.  That talent also helped recreate singers' voices and various music styles.  I eventually signed to the Sloan Agency for voice acting and then moved to PN Agency http://www.pnagency.com who I am with at the present.  Have done 100's of commercials for Radio, TV like East Side Mario's, The Dallas Morning News, Yak Long Distance, MTV, YTV, CMT, The Zimmer Twins, Nelvana, Nickelodeon, Toyota, Barq's, Japan Camera, Mill St. Brewery, Western Union, LCBO and many more.  Also, films included: "The Barnyard' for Paramount, "Guardians of the Galaxy" for Marcel and my character is 'Master Mayhem', the lead in the 'Massive Monster Mayhem' for Nickelodeon which is presently on Family Channel in Canada, both are Toronto agencies. That's Daniel's character in the centre in GOLD.


Deb:            How old is Dex The Rex?  Who inspired your creation of this character?  Is Dex the Rex part of your Massive Monster Mayhem?  
Daniel:  "Dex the Rex came into my life 3 years ago.  I have been developing his voice and character since then.  He is an elder character of great wisdom and 65 million years of experience.  He has seen it all and only wishes to help people become better and eventually reach their own personal enlightenment.  He has nothing to do with Monster Mayhem, but the director of the show did take a special interest in him when I brought Dex to one of our recording sessions.  Who knows, he may have his own show one day.  I have always been a huge Kermit the Frog fan and all of the Muppets.  They formed my interest in doing voices and working with puppets to bring them to life."

Deb:             Have you seen or felt a major shift or change in music today compared to when your career first started?  
Daniel:        " The big change in music now is that it is so devalued.

Deb:            What is it like to have performed with music legends like  Beverly Mahood, Thomas Wade, Amy Sky, Cowboy Junkies, Colin James and Canada's largest independent award winning country artist of all time, Jamie Warren? As well, what is it like to have your name notably placed amongst these giants in the biz?  
Daniel:        " It's always nice to be acknowledged and respected for one's work.

Deb:             Did anyone particular role model give you solid advice on the ins and outs of music back in the day?  As well, what advice would you give to new artists starting out?
Daniel:         " Working with Kenny Munshaw taught me a lot about how to work with people.  Like any business, it's 90% about having good relationships with people and 10% about the music.

Deb:             You are a charismatic, honest, passionate song-writer and have an inspiring soul, who is no ordinary guitar player.  You exude raw energetic emotion as a musician, philosopher and blues profit?  Also, would you say your songs are based primarily based on personal experiences or life in general?
Daniel:         Thank you, but, Blues??  Not really.  Just the language of music, whether it's Country, Pop or Movie Soundtrack, it's all about communicating to people with music and inviting them to participate.  Great music should always let someone interpret what it means to them.  That's the gift I like to give.
Submitted Photo
Deb:              Anytime I have got to experience you I hear strong blues over tones.  You are truly a role model I look up to and worship, my philosopher King. if you will.  You are always there for me..... I adore your dedication.   
Daniel:    Well, real blues is just honest emotions and yes, that is what I always aspire to do.  My songs are from my personal experiences and expressing them.  Hopefully lets people know they are not alone in whatever they are going through.  We are all in this together.  No one is less special than anyone else.  Worship the I AM presence in yourself, not me.  But, thank you Deb.

Daniel puts the emphasis on the enjoyment of learning music.  He encourages students-of-all-ages to continue to 
write and record their own songs.
While on  the topic of MUSIC~Daniel's got a NEW single coming out entitled
 "Angels of America"
co-written with Gary O'Connor~stay tuned for it's release in near future and for all your Daniel music needs  visit

Thanks so much for your time and the incredibly insightful interview Daniel.  Much love, respect and ongoing admiration my music brother.

Dave Matthews Band Still Rocks a SOLD OUT show 27 years into Career.

Staying in Tune with 
Dave Matthews Band
July 10th, 2018, Budweiser Stage 
 LIVE NATION Presentation.
Still, rockin' n rolling them in, Dave Matthews Band is as solid as ever! Another sold out amphitheatre moment as if the pause button was pressed and you were back in 1991. 
Toronto's July 10th, 2018 performance proved that even after a quarter of a century in this musical realm, Dave Matthews Band has got the flavour that his all aged fans are hungry for, not 1 ticket left, the sold out crowd kept swelling in number. 
I was honored to have been selected as a media source thru Live Nation with The Wire Megazine to be photographing the first portion from the intro hit "Big Eyed Fish" from his 5th album Busted Stuff to the last chord struck in "Lover Lay Down" from his 1994 Studio Debut album Under the Table and Dreaming.  As I looked upward thru my camera lenses onto that mighty fortress and thru the sea of warm hues, I can tell you 1 thing, from way down in the pit below the Budweiser Stage, there simply is no other feeling in the world that came close, DMB Live, what a rush.  

The 7 piece DMB strolled onto the mighty stage and with just one look, that epic facial expression Dave gives, the crowd roared louder, escalated like thunder and lightning bringing a satisfied smile upon his face as he mounted up his acoustic.  At times the audience was louder then the music and that brought goosebumps, just to hear the audience drown out Dave, you know you left your mark when the audience is performing for you. 

Dave Matthews is one of the planet's most energetic, unique and creatively gifted songwriters, so naturally if I was asked to choose my top 10 or 20 favorite pieces from his extensive discography, that would be no easy task.  Their three hour non stop set made for a stellar crowd-pleasing evening laced with the notable favourites from their extensive repertoire based on 8 studio albums, 83 live albums, 29 singles, pretty impressive!!   Blending in the addition of their newest arrows from their quiver from their 9th studio album "Come Tomorrow," the night was made magic.  As well, "Come Tomorrow" is their 1st studio album in 6 years and is sitting at #1 at radio, making this their 7th #1 standing at Billboard's 200.   

 Speaking with passion and gratitude, Matthews thanked us all after every song, which for a DMB fan, you know their songs are rarely under 6 minutes and some even extend as long as 10 minutes.
"Hope you are having a good time, cuz I sure am," Dave projected over the constant roar of appreciation from his 16,000 fans

No opening act and with their explorative nature, the sky was the limit. Their in depth extensive improvisational jam style songs covered most genres enthusiastically, as they expressively dove into acoustic folk pop into alternative art rock with a U2 meets Coldplay feel, slighty blended with a sense of country bluegrass flare in a few pieces, delving back into the jazzy funk felt infusion that I know them for.  This show engulfed my senses and titalated my emotions while tripping my mind to melt as their surprises were never ending. I was shocked that there was a set list, as each show is rare and unique from the last, even with 25 year old hits, the songs are never played the same, always different every time. 

2 Time Grammy winning Dave Matthews got to stretch his vocal talents beautifully. He hasn't lost his touch, regarding his piercing falsetto that hit stratospheric proportions while his band of A listers captivated the dedicated DMB heads. 

Founding members 60 year old drumming sensation Carter Beauford expertly administered his voluptuous hard hitted talents while sporting a constant perma grin as he collaborated with 51 year old Matthews thru out the night rockin this outside Toronto theatre.
along side the sizzling 61 year old Grammy nominated guitarist Tim Reynolds. 
Adding in the smooth and sexy sounds of 53 year old sax man Jeff Coffin was momentous, facilitating 44 year old bassist extraordinaire Stefan Lessard to round out the 
deep richness factor. 


Adding in the newest members Trumpeter Rashawn Ross and internationally acclaimed keyboardist Buddy Strong (Katy Perry, Usher) added a spice to even the oldest of hits.
Their performance showcased songs from 95% of their discography catalogue ranging from "Don't Drink the Water" from their 3rd CD Before These Crowded Streets, to "Come On Come On" from their 2018 Newest CD 'Come Tomorrow.' I adored the newest song "Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin)" which was followed by "Hunger For The Great Light" off their 2005 6th CD Stand Up, "Funny The Way It Is" from their 2009 Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King 7th CD, to my favorite-"Satelite" from their 1993 independently released Remember 2 Things, into another NEW hit "Again and Again" just released in June from 'Come Tomorrow,' into crowd pleasing "Louisiana Bayou" from their 2005 6th CD Stand Up .  
“It’s been a long time, since we visited Toronto, my memory is playing tricks on me.  I am confused by that sign back there, I swore last time we were here, that sign said Molson," Matthews stated with a chuckle.    


 I was listening, not watching some of it as I was sitting documenting while the audience perfected a 3 hour standing ovation loud and proud as I looked up in amazement
 all around me.  

 I felt, hey, that Pan Flute sounds pretty bang on to the intro of ......and just as I wrote it down, they broke into an explosive version of what was on the tip of my tongue, thus bringing a smile to my face for knowing what the cover was. Their ambitious musicianship laid a ripping hot version of Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer and the audience went NUTS! now my adrenaline was pumped!  All in all DMB didn't disappoint this lover of their sound.

 They are a treasured institution that will forever be celebrated as long as they love to tour for their fans. 
 After 27 years, they are well known as 1 of the most service driven philanthropist bands in the rock industry today, raising over $40 million under The BAMA Works Fund to assist a variety of need organziations from disadvantaged youth, disabled persons, health, environment, arts to humanities.  They never sway from their warm hospitality, always sporting their 90s-era jam-loving college-town rocker personas, after all it's all about the jam and their caringly cultivated and devoted fans.
Keep in tune and up to speed with Dave Matthews Band at 

Don't forget to visit Live Nation for all your Budweiser Stage concert needsToronto