Toulon raises EC$99,000 for the Princess Margaret Hospital
The sum of EC$99,127.81 (€ 31.067,73 EURO) has reached its intended destination at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Dominica. The money raised at the Darrel Toulon & Friends Benefit Gala held in Graz on 12th December 2017, is to be used for the purchase of equipment for refurbishing the Blood Bank of Dominica's main hospital which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Dominican-born Darrel Toulon brought together a group of over 40 international artistes who all performed without remuneration at the Grazer Orpheum on Tuesday 12th December 2017. The programme consisted of song, dance and music interspersed with voice-files and video-clips of images and sounds recorded before, during and after the onslaught of the Category 5 Hurricane Maria, which made landfall on September 18th 2017.
"On behalf of the government of Dominica, the Ministry of Health, the management team of the Princess Margaret Hospital, together with the staff and patients; I do hereby extend our deepest appreciation for the hard work and team effort that was expended by Darrel Toulon and Friends", wrote Clayton Bryan, Hospital Services Coordinator, who promised that the funds will be specifically used for the procurement of equipment for the Blood Bank.
The Benefit Gala, under the honorary patronage of Dr. Bettina Vollath, Parliamentary President of Styria, was endorsed by the Dominica High Commission in London, who provided access to the several film clips and sound files used in the montage sequences. The Acting High Commissioner Ms. Janet Charles has expressed her "thanks for the support given to Darrel Toulon and Friends by the community of Graz to raise this sum of money which is much needed by the Hospital."
Special Guest was fellow-Dominican Sade Bully, herself an internationally recognized dancer currently based in New York, former soloist with Garth Fagan Company. Sade Bully was invited by Darrel Toulon to join the cast of artistes coming from as far as India, Cuba, China, and Brazil.
"It was truly an indescribable feeling to go to Austria for the very first time to be part of an event alongside so many incredible artistes, all performing together for Dominica," Bully said.
Sade Bully performed her dance-solo with a singer (Austrian musical star Elisabeth Sikora), String Quartet and Combo, led by Italian Musical Director Maurizio Nobili.
"This event truly spoke to the power of Art to unite us and make tangible change," Sade Bully continued.
"Thanks to the commitment of several trusted Friends, this Event was possible", said Darrel Toulon.
Toulon left Dominica in 1981, and has been active in theater production since moving to Germany in 1987. Engagements as dancer, choreographer, teacher, and director have lead him to (among other places) Caracas, Madrid, Rome, Pristina and St. Petersburg.
Between 2001 and 2015 Darrel Toulon was Ballet Director of the Opera House in Graz, during which time he forged ties with several of the artistes who answered his call to perform at the Benefit Gala for Dominica.
"The feeling of helplessness I experienced in the wake of Maria's destruction was gone, as together we sang onstage "Starting all over again is gonna be rough on us, but we're gonna make it! to raise well needed funds for rebuilding the island".
Ticket sales, sponsoring, donations, and contributions in cash, resulted in 31.067,73 EURO deposited in a special donations account set up an administered by the Afro-Asian Institute of Graz, who transferred the entire sum of 31.067,73 EURO to the account of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, at the National Bank Dominica.