Ten Years of Heartfelt Singing


This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

Almost a decade ago La Scena Musicale founder Wah Keung Chan created an unusual alternative to chocolates, cards and flowers: Singing Valentines. On Feb. 14, 2020 we conducted the 10th edition of this annual fundraising initiative. It was a great success for many reasons. Our six singers with their repertoire of 34 songs delivered 40 Singing Valentines to individuals in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Toledo, Ohio.

When Jo-Ann Davies of Montreal called in her request for a Singing Valentine, she was clearly excited about the opportunity. “Andrew Carter on CJAD 800 was really pumping up this as a special gift, and I thought, wow, what a great idea,” said Davies, who placed an order for “Smile” sung by Gino Quilico for her husband Nabil.

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Davies was not the only person who had heard Carter’s push for our special event. “You really saved me,” Veronica Fantetti wrote in an email. “I’ve always tried to get something special for my spouse on Valentine’s Day. This year was a little difficult with two-month-old. I’ve just not had the time. Then I heard Andrew Carter on the radio and I knew exactly what I was going to get him.” After Wah Keung Chan had delivered his rendition of Love Me Tender, Fantetti wrote, “I forgot that he was coaching hockey. So his colleagues in the locker room actually got to listen.”

Shortly thereafter I received a phone call from someone who the day before had ordered six Singing Valentines. “I don’t want to start a jealousy war within my family,” she said. “I have four other people I have to send Singing Valentines to.”  She laughed: “I think Adrian Rodriguez is going to hate me. My family members don’t know the traditional arias and therefore I’m sending them all Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” When I sent Rodriguez his new order of songs, he wrote: “Hahahahaha, that’s hilarious. I love singing and I wouldn’t mind singing more. Keep them coming. I want to establish a record.”

Deborah of Toronto ordered “O mio babbino caro from Pucinni’s Gianni Schicchi to be sung by Chantal Dionne for her husband. Shortly after Dionne sang for Deborah’s husband, we received an email from Deborah: “I must tell you how it went. Chantal called to speak to my husband and I listened in on another phone. I didn’t want to miss it! From the second she started to sing, I started to cry. Even thinking about it brings tears to my eyes! Her voice is so beautiful! Being serenaded by an opera singer is a very different experience from listening to a recording or even being at a live opera. This was an amazing idea! I had told a few friends about it last week but I don’t know whether they went through with it.

“Please tell me that you will do it again next year. So much better than the usual flowers and chocolates. All the best of luck to you and your colleagues.” Deborah, we certainly will be repeating this project next year and we hope your friends will join you in giving the gift of song.

It is not just those who order Singing Valentines who enjoy the experience. Singers love it. Some become very emotional. Before noon on Valentine’s Day, Dino Spaziani, who sang for a woman whose son had ordered the Singing Valentine, told me: “She said she had tears in her eyes and I do too.” For Chantal Dionne, “I enjoy talking with the people before and after my singing. They are always so appreciative and touched… they always give me beautiful and sincerely felt comments. It has become a part of my annual Valentine’s Day; uplifting and gratitude are the 2 words coming to mind!”

Song is a wonderful way of telling people that you care about them. La Scena Musicale also delivers songs for birthdays and other special occasions. I have personally called friends on their birthdays and sung to them. Wah Keung Chan has often explained that this is how Singing Valentines started as he too has sung for friends. Their response has always been positive. Chan took something that we both enjoyed doing and turned into something special. La Scena Musicale would like to thank our singers: Marie-Annick Beliveau, Wah Keung Chan, Chantal Dionne, Gino Quilico, Adrian Rodriguez and Dino Spaziani for donating their voices and time to the 10th edition of Singing Valentines.

Missed the opportunity? The Singing Valentines serenade is available all-year-round for birthdays and Mother’s Day.



This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


About Author

Vasyl Pawlowsky holds a B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literartures from the University of Waterloo, an M.A. in the same, specializing in 20th century Ukrainian literature from the University of Ottawa, and a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University. He has worked in the aerospace, educational and legal sectors as an information specialist, in both Canada and Ukraine. He has also experience in both print and broadcast journalism, as a copy writer, editor, producer and program host. He has published in the Eastern Economist, The Kyiv Post, The Kyiv Weekly, The Ukrainian Weekly, FreePint and Maclean's Magazine.

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