The Event

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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 epic celebration between some of Toronto’s most prominent lawyers and law firms.

This Year Marks the 25th Anniversary of AIDSbeat

Our goal for the 25th edition of AIDSbeat is to deliver an epic celebration event that raises funds in support of reducing the number of new HIV cases across the country.

The History

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. 

AIDSbeat continues to support CANFAR, through funding innovative research, national awareness programs, and dynamic partnerships, CANFAR remains a trailblazer in its mission to end HIV in Canada.

The Night Of

Toronto’s most influential lawyers and business professionals put AIDSbeat in their calendar a year in advance. 

Our lineup of uber-talented bands will be as electric and diverse as the city of Toronto. Up to five different bands take to the stage to perform, including special guest Theo Tams. 

People's Choice Award

Guests pay to play! We encourage you to contribute and support your favourite band by voting the night of. The band with the most votes will take home the People’s Choice Award!

Live Auction

On the night of the event, guests will have the chance to bid on a selection of luxury items and experiences in our AIDSbeat live auction.

AIDSbeat-Carousel-NightOf

Event Founder and 2022 Co-Chairs

Patrica Olasker

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.

David-Palumbo

Event Co-Chair, David Palumbo

David Palumbo is a Partner and Chair of the Corporate Transactions Practice Group at Baker McKenzie in Toronto. David practices in areas of capital markets and corporate law, focusing on public and private financings by both private and public issuers in sectors including natural resources, tech, healthcare and life sciences/biotechs. David is a member of the Firm’s North American Capital Markets Steering Committee and the Global Inclusion and Diversity Committee. In addition to acting as Co-chair of AIDSbeat, David serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of the You Can Play Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the inclusion for all in sports.

Nicole Sigouin

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.

AIDSbeat

2022 Bands

Blind Trust

Blind Trust

Playing classic rock cover tunes for almost 20 years and still loving it! ‘Nough said.

Band Members

Chris Robertson on vocals, Richard Raymer on guitar, Jason Hoddinott on guitar, Reza Shaffaf on bass and Tom Paulovits on drums.

The Insecurities

Representing Davies law firm, The Insecurities brings together Jaimie Franks on keyboards, Alistair Littlejohn and Trevor May on guitar, and Maureen Littlejohn on auxiliary percussion while all four provide vocal harmonies.  

A corporate lawyer at Davies, Jaimie is equal parts excited and terrified to step up to the mic. Alistar, an elementary school teacher in Etobicoke, is hoping the upcoming AIDSbeat performance will be the breakthrough he needs to open his very own School of Rock. Trevor, though he’s adapted to more conventional instrumentation, learned rhythm and blues pluckin’ a gutbucket and blowing on an old jar of moonshine. And Maureen is looking forward to the relative peace and quiet the El Mocambo may bring compared with two years social distancing with her (apparently rowdy) children. 

Band Members
Jamie Franks | Davies
Alistair Littlejohn
Trevor May | Davies
Maureen Littlejohn | Davies

The Insecurities band portrait

A Cute Risk and the Mant Band

Climate warriors by day, the teams from Manifest Climate and Mantle Developments came together to form « A Cute Risk and the Mant Band ». Adding Rock and Roll to their arsenal in the fight against climate change, the band will be making their debut at AIDSbeat 2022.

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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. The members’ musical interests range from jazz to classical to rock, and they hope to bring that variety to this year’s ICONIC AIDSbeat theme. Call to the Bar is very proud to support CANFAR.

Band Members
Patricia McKenzie (Lead Vocals)Patricia is excited to return AIDSbeat and headline at the El Mocambo this year. Patricia is an actress, producer, dancer and singer and executive board member of The National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence. A Montreal native, she now lives in LA but is returning to Toronto for this special event.Jeff Cogliati (Vocals and Rhythm Guitar)Jeff is a principal architect and Associate Director at IBI Group Architects in Toronto. He has been playing (shredding) guitar in rock bands for over two decades. This will be his third time on stage for AIDSbeat, and he is excited to headline this year’s event.Alex Gomez (Bass Guitar)Originally from Caracas, Venezuela. Alex is an audio engineer who works in Corporate Security. Alex has played bass with multiple bands in the GTA over the past 15 years and can’t wait to be back at El Mocambo after 10 years. Alex is exited to headline this year event with « Call to The Bar »Pete Richardson (Drums)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, and his baby son, born in May 2022. Pete is stoked to return to the AIDSbeat stage this year.Dominic Mazzone  (Lead Guitar)
Originally from the US, Dominic is the CEO of MedSpa Partners. Dominic was originally a drummer and bassist but literally started dreaming about playing guitar. His wife and kids bought him one and he hasn’t put it down since. Dom is excited to hit the AIDSbeat Stage for the first time.John McGowan (Keyboardist)
John’s participation in AIDSbeat goes back to the first year. Or second. He can’t remember. But he’s intoxicated at the prospect of returning.

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Call to the Bar band photo

2022 Special performances

Portrait of Theo Tams

Theo Tams (Slaight Music)

This Canadian singer, songwriter, and performer has been playing since his teens and releasing music for the past 15 years. He has three albums and three EPs to his credit, along with a formidable collection of singles and...oh yeah, that championship run on the sixth season of Canadian Idol in 2008. Tams has put together a body of work that’s substantial and diverse. It speaks of an artist whose mission is growth and adventure – building upon his proverbial laurels, rather than sitting on them. Born and raised in the small town of Coaldale in southern Alberta, Tams learned to sing in church (two services on Sundays), with a family that was steeped in music. He began writing poetry and prose pieces as a teenager, gradually moving towards songwriting influenced by the likes of Jewel, as well as confessional Canadian storytellers such as Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morissette, Sarah Harmer, and Sarah Slean. 

Jillea (Slaight Music)

Jillea’s seen her share of hits since winning the Slaight Music “It’s Your Shot” songwriting/artist development competition in 2013. She’s made her mark at events like We Day, the iHeartRadio MMVA Red Carpet, CMW, Canadian Screen Award Nominations and more. She surprised everyone by merging music and cosplay into an explosive second career as a cosplay artist and costume designer on the Fan Expo Canada circuit. 

Jillea singer portrait

Roslyn Witter (Slaight Music)

Recently signed to Slaight Music, singer-songwriter Roslyn Witter has always been destined for the stage. Since the age of four, Roslyn has performed with country music singer and Dad, Jim Witter. Influenced by the music she grew up with, Roslyn has combined a myriad of country legends to form her own unique sound – which she showcases in her upcoming EP. 

Nicole Sigouin (Co-chair)

Nicole Sigouin is the lead singer with her band Notorious Road and has been AIDSbeat’s co-chair since 2017. She inherited her passion for singing from her father and was a student of Toronto-based actor, jazz singer, and vocal coach, Peggy Mahon, for many years. Nicole participated in the very first AIDSbeat as an enthusiastic member of the audience. She has performed at countless musical fundraisers and in 2008, she hit the AIDSbeat stage for the first time. She and her band took home the coveted Lexpert Cup in 2011 and 2018. She is currently working on a recording project with Cloral Mosaic Productions. When not on stage or in the recording studio, Nicole is a partner in the Toronto office of Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, practicing banking and finance law.

Nicole Sigouin portrait
Rennie Ramuite-Ali

Rennie Ali

Rennie Ali began singing from a very young age in church, both as a lead and a backup singer. Encapsulated by the rhythms and sounds of the island where he grew up, his influences ranged from the local talent as well as R&B and Motown records he collected as a child. As part of his church’s missionary, he has travelled the world performing for countless faces and audiences, as well as working and recording with top musicians and singers in the gospel world. Rennie performed at AIDSbeat with the band Notorious Road in 2017, 2018 and 2019. 

Blair Purdy Music

Music has always been a part of Blair Purdy’s life. His most recent release, “Steady Hustle,” is an electrifying 9-song powerhouse that showcases Blair’s producing genius through an assemblage of undiscovered Canadian talent. His compositions and recorded productions have been featured in film, television, and radio all over the world. Blair is a generous and good friend of AIDSbeat and has served as a Lexpert Cup judge for many years. He is thrilled to help us celebrate our 25th anniversary by hitting the stage himself with his iconic band, Blair Purdy Music! 

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