Journey of Hope concert takes place on Sunday (Sept. 23)
London Community News
A focus on the people who make journey through cancer is one thing; looking at the people supporting them is another.
For London's 12th Annual Journey of Hope Through Music concert, it has always been about both. The concert is still about both, but this year marks a change, as the Journey of Hope will tell the story of its founder and supporters, the people making it happen.
When Rev. Cordell Parsons faced news that his own wife had to go through cancer treatments, he looked for hope. Inspired by his wife's love of singing with the Gerald Fagan Singers, Cordell, along with the London Regional Cancer Program, initiated a gathering of local choirs in a Celebration of Life.
People with cancer, and those who supported family members with the illness, joined together to form the Celebration Singers. It was this little choir that could that became the founding group and host choir of the Journey of Hope.
It is said that cancer touches all families. Judy Brown, a London music director and educator, was no exception. After her own father died of cancer, Judy took on the direction of the Celebration Singers, deciding to try to build an even stronger link between music and cancer support.
In addition to directing the Celebration Singers, Judy took the lead in organizing the annual concert, renaming it The Journey of Hope Through Music. Her continuing commitment to the event, she said, “is meant to be.”
“The recent passing of my sister after a battle with breast cancer, has refocused my energy on the concert,” Brown explained. “It’s about doing something for those who need strength for the journey.”
Judy’s husband, Phil, who met her through the Celebration Singers and is a tireless volunteer for the Journey of Hope, also has a personal connection to cancer.
"To remember Marilyn, my first wife, who lost her battle with cancer, through the music that gives hope to others, is very important to me."
From the members of the Journey of Hope committee to the choirs to the musicians to Swan who has been master of ceremonies for 10 years, and most of all from the audience, Judy takes heart. In turn, her tireless energy, motivation, and dedication speaks to how hope is passed on.
Along with the Celebration Singers, this year's Journey of Hope includes the talents of Cantorian Choir, Conspirato, The Valleyview Male Chorus, Lyra Choir London and Forest City Strings and features Sonja Gustafson and Steve Hollowitz.
The free-will offering from the concert goes to support three cancer-related organizations: Ovarian Cancer Research, Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, and London and Region Wellspring.
The concert will take place at St. Paul's Cathedral on Sunday (Sept. 23) at 7:30 p.m.