One night a year, the top legal minds in Toronto clash on-stage, not in the courtroom – in support of ending the HIV epidemic in Canada. AIDSbeat is an annual battle of the bands between some of Toronto’s most prominent lawyers and law firms.
AIDSbeat “Back to the Movies” was a glamorous, blockbuster sequel, as bands payed tribute to their favourite stories from the silver screen. In addition to the fantastic live music, AIDSbeat featured amazing items in the Silent Auction.
In the 1990s the HIV/AIDS epidemic was at its height in Toronto. No treatment was available to fight the disease. For many, a diagnosis equaled certain death. A group of lawyers, tired of watching the epidemic devastate their community, decided to fight back.
AIDSbeat was created over 20 years ago to raise money in support of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR), and its mission to fund all aspects of HIV research – from increased prevention efforts, increased opportunities for testing, improved health outcomes for people living with HIV in Canada, and reduced stigma. That research has had a huge impact. People can now access life-saving treatment. However, we can not allow ourselves to become complacent. Over 65,000 people in Canada living with HIV and on average, 6 people newly acquire HIV every 24 hours in Canada.
The Night Of
AIDSbeat “Back to the Movies” promises to be one of our most glamorous, blockbuster and prolific battle of the bands yet!
This is an incredible opportunity to wear your movie premiere-inspired outfit on the red carpet, and watch your favourite bands hit the stage, vying for the coveted Lexpert Cup. Guests will also have the opportunity to bid on some amazing auction items – and show their support for their favourite bands.
2019 Event Founder and Co-Chairs
Event Founder, Patricia Olasker
Patricia Olasker is a Senior Partner in the Corporate/Commercial, Mergers & Acquisitions, Capital Markets and Mining practices at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. She advises domestic and foreign acquirers, targets, hedge funds, special committees and investment banks in M&A transactions, proxy contests and shareholder activism. She represents issuers and underwriters in some of Canada’s most complex and innovative financing transactions. She also specializes in public market derivatives, the development of innovative structured debt and equity products, high-yield debt financings and Multijurisdictional Disclosure System (MJDS) offerings. Patricia advises boards of directors and special committees on corporate governance and transaction-specific matters. Ms. Olasker is also Vice Chair and Secretary of CANFAR’s Board of Directors.
Event Co-Chair, David Palumbo
David Palumbo is a Partner at Baker McKenzie in Toronto. David practices securities and corporate law, focusing on public and private financings by both private and public issuers in sectors including healthcare and life sciences/biotechs. David is Chair of the Toronto Diversity and Inclusion Committee and a member of the Student Committee. He serves as Vice-Chair of the Executive Board of the You Can Play Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the inclusion of all in sports, and Co-Chair of the Toronto legal community’s largest annual fundraiser, AIDSbeat, in support of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR). He also serves as counsel and a member of the Board of the Italian Contemporary Film Festival.
Event Co-Chair, Nicole Sigouin
Nicole Sigouin is a Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP and practices in all areas of banking and finance. Nicole has extensive experience acting for financial institutions and borrowers in connection with domestic and cross-border debt financing transactions, asset-based lending, project finance, acquisition financing and complex financial restructurings (including the ground-breaking $32 billion restructuring of third-party asset-backed commercial paper in Canada). She is a member of their special situations team, applying her expertise to urgent and critical corporate reorganizations. Nicole has been a long-standing member of the AIDSbeat organizing committee (and lead singer in one of the participating bands). She joined David Palumbo as Co-Chair of the committee in 2017.
Billy Newton-Davis is a 4-time Juno Award Winning Vocalist. Originally from Shaker Heights, Ohio, (a suburb of Cleveland), Billy moved to Toronto in 1980, after time spent in New York. Billy contracted HIV in 1986; however, he did not let the virus prevent him from pursuing his dream of becoming a recording artist. His debut album, Love Is a Contact Sport, won the Juno Award for best R&B/soul recording in 1986 and included the hits “Deeper”, “Right Beside You” and “Find My Way Back”. His 1989 follow up, Spellbound, included his biggest Canadian chart hit, “I Can’t Take It”, as well as the Celine Dion duet “Can’t Live With You, Can’t Live Without You”, and again won the Juno for best R&B/soul recording. Newton-Davis subsequently joined The Nylons in 1991. Since leaving the Nylons, he has primarily concentrated on songwriting and live jazz and gospel performances. He also collaborated and performed vocals on a number of deadmau5 tracks, including “I Like Your Music”, and “All U Ever Want”.
Blair Purdy has worked in countless musical capacities since pledging himself to the art form at the age of 16. He opened the doors of BPM Studios in 2007 and has dedicated the last decade of his life to exploring many musical genres. Blair has self-produced the last 3 full length Gruvoria albums and their most recent EP’s, which have led to thousands of units sold and regular airplay on Radio and Internet Stations worldwide. Blair has developed a remarkably original look at the human condition through his live performances and recorded arrangements.
Nicole MacAdam is an award-winning journalist and executive producer of the Financial Post, part of the Postmedia network of publications. She has worked as an editor and visual journalist at publications including the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, the Seattle Times, the Toronto Star and Canadian Press. During her nearly 20 years as a journalist, she’s lead teams of writers, editors and visual journalists report stories on topics ranging from the financial crisis, income inequality, how the education system fails boys, private health care and women in power. She is an alumnus of the University of Western Ontario and Ryerson University, and is an MBA candidate at the University of Illinois. She’s married, a mother of two, and plays the trumpet in Toronto’s Metropolitan Winds in her spare time.
Theo Tams grew up in the small town of Coaldale, Alberta, into a strict and Reformed Christian Dutch family. He sang in church and at home had access to a music cabinet of mostly sacred music. At 16, he started writing original music and three years later recorded an EP, influenced by Sarah McLachlan, The Script, Jann Arden, and Nickelback. Nine months after he came out to his parents, Theo landed a spot on Canadian Idol in 2008 and eventually won what would be the show’s final season. He released his debut full-length, Give It All Away, in 2009 on Sony Music Canada, and, later that year, a Christmas single, ’Do You Hear What I Hear?’ with Toronto singer Ali Slaight, now an annual tradition which led to his deal with Slaight Music and a solo EP, Back Pocket. Theo and Ali also released all nine of their Christmas songs in 2017 on Holiday Collection.
Playing classic rock cover tunes for fifteen years and still loving it! ‘Nough said.
Joe Conneely | Conneely PC
Erin Finlay | The Canadian Media Producers Association
Catherine Murray | Rogers Communications Inc.
Richard Raymer | Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Chris Robertson | Christopher Robertson Law Professional Corporation
Peter Wilcox | Belmore Neidrauer LLP
2019 People's Choice Winners, Notorious Road
Rockin’ the AIDSbeat stage since 2008, Notorious Road (aka DisORderly Conduct) is pumped to hit the stage to pay tribute to their favourite films.
Claudette Bernard | Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
Russell Dufault | Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
Nicole Dinaut | Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Real Gratton | Cloral Mosaic Productions Inc.
Rennie Ramuite-ali | Dentons Canada LLP
Barry Segal | Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
Nicole Sigouin | Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
Ruth Wahl | Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
The Torkin Manes Screaming Legals will be playing vintage rock & roll for this year’s AIDSbeat in support of CANFAR!
Valeria Matzner | Vocals | Torkin Manes LLP
Chris Patheiger | Drums | Uncle Smoke Cookhouse
Dan Pugen | Lead Guitar | Torkin Manes LLP
Jen Siemon | Keyboard | Torkin Manes LLP
Jeff Simpson | Rhythm Guitar | Torkin Manes LLP
Chris Valente | Bass | Torkin Manes LLP
2019 Lexpert Cup Winners, Call to the Bar
Call to the Bar debuted at AIDSbeat in 2018, and is very excited to return this year for the legal industry’s biggest music night of the year. Our members’ musical interests range from jazz to classical to rock, and we hope to bring that variety to this year’s AIDSbeat theme. Call to the Bar is very proud to support CANFAR.
Frank Davis (Lead Vocals and Guitar)
Called to the bar in 2008, Frank is a seasoned lawyer and Country Head of Pattern Energy in Canada. He is a musician at heart, and is excited to be making his debut at AIDSbeat this year. In preparing for this year’s event, Frank is re-discovering his love for classic synth.
Patricia McKenzie (Lead Vocals)
Patricia is excited to make her AIDSbeat debut with Call to the Bar this year. But she is no stranger to the stage or screen, being an actress, producer, dancer and singer. Originally hailing from Quebec, she now lives in LA but is returning to Toronto for this special event.
Jeff Cogliati (Vocals and Lead Guitar)
Jeff is a senior architect and associate manager at IBI Group Architects in Toronto. He has been playing (shredding) lead guitar in rock bands for over two decades. This will be his second time on stage for AIDSbeat, and he is excited to return. This time it’s personal.
Alex Gomez (Bass Guitar)
Working in security by day, Alex is our awesome bassist, who is weaving his love for prog rock bass into our set this year. Like Frank and Patricia, Alex is making his debut at AIDSbeat this year. Alex lets his bass to the talking and will be taking the bass line for a walk at this years’ event.
Pete Richardson (Drums / Percussion)
Originally from the UK, via New Zealand and Australia, Pete is a lawyer and has settled in Canada in part to stop lugging his kit around the world. He also loves his Canadian wife very much. Pete is stoked to return to the AIDSbeat stage this year.
Barely legal, Andrea has graced us with her extraordinary voice while in between coveted music programs at Berkeley and McGill. Although trained in jazz she is in rock and pop heaven with Force Majeure. Her mom went to school with Gary and her pops used to sail with Paul. She brings the average age of the band way down, for which we thank her. We try to convince her that getting to our age and still rockin’ isn’t so bad but we can see the fear in her eyes.
Jimmy’s got an awesome studio in his basement that his wife, Lisa, lets us rehearse in sometimes (thanks Lisa!). He says he has a day job but nobody knows what it is and we think all he does is play in bands. A multi-talented musician and vocalist, it can be a challenge to lock him down to only 1 instrument. Following extensive negotiation, we agreed on keys, a little acoustic guitar sprinkled with some stellar vocals.
Mark plays drums and wants to be in as many bands as Jim. He has a day job selling routers (magic boxes) or something like that. He knows the words to every song ever written, which would be useful if he was singing most of our songs, but he’s not because we have Heela and Andrea who can actually sing, so mostly it’s just annoying. Thinks the band is named after him but was misspelled.
As the newly anointed head of International M&A for BMO, Gary officially calls London home these days. He bounces back and forth across the pond so frequently that he doesn’t know what time it is and naps between songs. Not liking to be in the same city for more than 5 consecutive days, our International Man of Mystery has somehow managed to make most of our band practices in a semi-conscious state. You might spot him at an airport near you, wearing a KISS t-shirt with guitar always in tow.
Paul is our resident Brit who resides in TO. Laced with a real British accent, Paul spends his working hours customizing charts for the band and practicing his guitar licks until they are perfect. He has a cheeky British comeback for every scenario possible, which is why we won’t be letting him say anything at the gig. The rest of the band has fun saying ‘charts’ with a British accent but Paul is unaware that we are doing it. He thinks it’s normal.
Easily the sweetest member of the band, Anil smiles a lot and plays a mean bass. We feel it is only a short time before he tells us what he really thinks of us. He is also the band snack mascot, reliably keeping our bellies full of Twizzlers when we jam. Anil keeps busy doing important work on the Board of AUSUM CHARITY FOR AUTISM. We like to play at his charity events too.
Heela Donsky Walker
Heela is a repeat offender at AIDSbeat, having appeared in various iterations of previous bands made-up of mostly the same musicians. When she’s not practising Wills and Estates law at Robins Appleby LLP, she is vigorously training her 3-year old on vocal mic technique in the hopes of bringing “fresh blood” onto the scene. Aiming for an AIDSbeat 2020 debut. Secret fact – Heela worked at an AIDSbeat some years ago before being recruited into a band. She will deny this if asked.