The Rady Jewish Community Centre kicks off 2020 on a high note as it presents Music ‘N’ Mavens for its 22nd consecutive year. Founding producer Karla Berbrayer says she started this event because of a need for diverse programming in Winnipeg.
“There was a need for daytime programming of cultural arts, concerts and speakers that I felt was not being addressed in Winnipeg,” she says.
Music ‘N’ Mavens is a three-month-long event presenting speakers who will address topics including climate change, health and art and offers a variety of concerts.
“My objective is to present a wide variety of music and speakers that would appeal to all audiences, and they do not need a prior background in the topic to be interested in it.”
Berbrayer says that the event has a special focus on 1960s and 1970s music this year.
“I found that when I was programming this season, I leaned to highlight music from this era, because that music is so great,” Berbrayer reflects.
Because the event is a daytime series, it tends to attract a more mature audience with a flexible schedule, however people of all ages are encouraged to attend.
“A lot of the core audience are mature audiences that are retired, but we are always thrilled when other age groups can attend.”
The speaker series features plenty of notable Manitobans, with photographer John Paskievich opening the event on Jan. 16. Paskievich, who recently had an exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, will showcase his photography from the 1970s to today for his presentation.
Dr. Marcia Anderson, a Cree-Anishinaabe doctor who was named one of the 100 most powerful women in Canada by Women’s Executive Network, will present on Feb. 4 and focus on the future of Indigenous health in Manitoba.
Dr. Peter Denton, a University of Winnipeg instructor and adjunct associate professor of history at the Royal Military College of Canada, will focus on the future of water in 2030, which is included in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for the same year.
The professor says he chose to speak about water because of its local and international relevance.
“It is easy to say that there is a problem (in countries with a lack of access to clean water) and not here, but we do have water problems in Manitoba,” he says.
“Around the world, where there are the most people, there is the least potable water, and in places where there is the most conflict, it is often around declining water resources.”
The U of W graduate points to Lake Chad as an example. The lake, once a water source for people of West Africa, has shrunk 90 per cent since the 1960s, and population growth, climate change and violent conflicts are all significant factors contributing to this drastic change.
“So now those people who depended on that watershed (are now suffering) or have to take measures to get water they never had to before.”
Denton points out that events like this are important to increasing awareness of global issues and can influence people to act.
“When people are shown what is happening and given the opportunity to do something, they leap at it.”
Rady JCC is located at 123 Doncaster St., and events run Tuesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 14 to March 12. Tickets can be purchased at radyjcc.com.