The Event

2018 AIDSbeat “Goes to the Movies”

Thank you to all of our 2018 sponsors and supporters!

The 2018 AIDSbeat “Goes to the Movies” was on Friday, May 4th, and was a glamorous, blockbuster event, as bands paid tribute to their favourite stories from the silver screen. In addition to the fantastic live music, AIDSbeat featured amazing items in the Silent Auction.

One night a year, the top legal minds in Toronto clash on-stage, not in the courtroom – in support of ending HIV in Canada. AIDSbeat is an annual battle of the bands between some of Toronto’s most prominent lawyers and law firms.

Thanks to the generous support of Freedom International Brokerage and CANFAR supporters, Patricia Olasker and her husband Brett Ledger – any donations that were made the night of AIDSbeat were matched.

The History

In the 1990s the HIV and 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 breakthroughs in HIV prevention, treatment, care, and the search for a cure. That research has had a huge impact. People can now access life-saving treatment. However, we can not allow ourselves to become complacent. There are over 63,000 Canadians currently living with HIV. Each year, there is approximately 2,165 new HIV infections transmitted (or, roughly six new infections every day).

AIDSbeat continues to support CANFAR, as Canada’s only national charitable foundation that raises awareness to generate funds for research into all aspects of HIV and AIDS. 

Over its 30-year history, CANFAR has invested more than $21 million in HIV and AIDS research, and awarded more than 400 grants, to research projects across Canada. In addition, CANFAR annually reaches more than two million youth through its HIV awareness initiatives.

The Night Of

AIDSbeatAIDSbeat “Goes 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.

Silent Auction

Get ready to place your bids on fabulous items soon to be available in our online Silent Auction.

People's Choice Awards

At AIDSbeat, guests pay to play: we encourage you to contribute and support your favourite band during the evening. The band with the most votes will take home the People's Choice Award! All funds raised go directly to support CANFAR-funded research.

Lexpert Cup

Only one band will claim their fame at the end of the night by taking home the coveted Lexpert Cup. The Lexpert Cup is the top prize, awarded to the best band of the night by our expert panel of judges.

2018 Event Co-Chairs

Event Founder

Patrica Olasker_crop

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 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. 

2018 Judges

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”.

Billy Newton-Davis Website



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. 

Gruvoria’s Website | Blair Purdy’s Website


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.

 National Post Website

2018 Bands

AIDSbeat BandsNotorious Road

2017 Lexpert Cup WinnersNotorious 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.

Band Members
Claudette Bernard | Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
Paul Carenza | Gowling WLG
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

Blind Trust

2017 People’s Choice Award WinnersBlindTrust-BandList-1
Playing classic rock cover tunes for fifteen years and still loving it! ‘Nough said.

Band Members
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

Call to the Bar

Call to the Bar was formed just this year, and is very excited to take part in 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. We are very proud to support CANFAR and to be associated with this special event.

Band Members
Michael Hyatt | Lead Vocals | BlueCat Networks
Jeff Cogliati | Lead Guitar | Jeff Cogliati Architect
Scott Crocco | Keyboard | Byld Barristers
Jordan Kirkness | Bass Guitar | Baker McKenzie
Pete Richardson | Drums | Baker McKenzie
Natalie Prange | Backing Vocals |  Baker McKenzie
Ian Attema | Backing Vocals |  Baker McKenzie

The Bar Tabs

Band Members
Heela Donsky Walker
|  Lead Singer | Heela’s first AIDSbeat appearance was as a Go-Go dancer.  True story.  She used to be a client of Jay’s when he was at Cassels, but now she’s a wills and estates lawyer at Robins Appleby LLP.  Go-Go dancer, to lawyer, to singer.  It was all part of the plan.  People who devise such plans are to be feared.

Jay Klein |  Keyboard |  Jay used to do entertainment law at Cassels, but he left to pursue other opportunities.  Splitter.  But he has a truck, so we kept him in the band because he shleps our gear, which typically emerges from the back of the truck covered in cheerios and gummy bears and straws from juice boxes, all of which have remarkably adhesive properties.

Jeff Buller | Guitar | Jeff was a client of Cassels.  He plays guitar, quickly.  He never met a note he didn’t want to bend, and typically stays in tune for about 8 seconds.  His day gig involves stuff with computers that none of us really understand, but he tends to get very pale when you mention Robert Mueller and extradition.  We’re fairly confident he’ll be able to make it to the gig.

Mark Masur | Drums |Mark plays drums.  Also a former client of Cassels, and has a day job selling Ethernet switches and routers, or something magic 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 who sings better than any of us, so mostly it’s just annoying.

John McGowan | Bass | John is presently on hiatus from his job at Cassels while he tries to remember where he left his short term memory.  Thankfully, he plays bass, which only has 4 strings, so in a worst case scenario he’s still got a 25% chance of getting it right.  Every single one of our tunes starts with John going “What key do we play this in?”  On the plus side, he can hide his own easter eggs.

Media Gallery

2018 AIDSbeat “Goes to the Movies”

Event Sponsors

2018 Gold Sponsors

2018 Silver Sponsors

2018 Bronze Sponsors

2018 Silent Auction Sponsors

2018 In-Kind Donors

2018 Official Volunteer Program Sponsors