- AN AFTERNOON WITH INGRID TAHERI -
INGRID TAHERI, ARTISTIC & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF HIGH NOTES | HIGHNOTESAVANTE.CA
tell us about yourself.
My name is Ingrid. I'm officially the artistic and executive director of High Notes Avante Productions Inc., which is a non-profit organization using the power of words and music to help those who have been touched by mental illness to move forward. I have a background in both music and communications. When somebody I cared very much about had a mental health crisis, I wanted to do something because I realized this was an issue that we need to put more attention to.
HOW DOES HIGH NOTES GALA HELP MENTAL ILLNESS?
The High Notes Gala for Mental Health features a combination of music and spoken word and other artistic performances that showcase the great things we can do despite having a mental illness. It's about giving hope to others that may be suffering at the time so they know they can lead a good life again. It connects our audience with many other support organizations that are available to help, if they should need it.
It's about inspiring people, educating them. Mental illness is not something that is isolated, not something you can snap out of. And because music has a strong power and has been used in the past to draw attention to other causes - it can make people interested just because they like the music. We use music to draw the audience in. Many composers like Schumann and Tchaikovsky from the Classical era have been touched by mental illness in the past. Therefore, hosting High Notes Gala can spread awareness and we try our best to support artists who themselves have been touched by mental illnesses. It is about elevating the image of both those touched by it everyone working in mental health.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE FACING RIGHT NOW?
Unfortunately, it's money. Because we need the money to pay for the theatre, produce brochures, pay for ads, staff and artists. Many of them are volunteering their time, so we cannot do as much as what we'd really like to do.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO OVERCOME THESE CHALLENGES?
We are applying for grants, such as the Ontario Arts Council, Town of Richmond Hill Community and Culture Grants etc. as well as approaching past and new sponsors to see if they have an interest in supporting us. We are also taking part of the LIVE Rogers Rotary TV auction on December 3 and 4th. We are also taking part of the LIVE Rogers Rotary TV auction on December 3 and 4th.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE?
We'd love for them to attend the High Notes Gala for Mental Health on May 6th at Flato Markham Theatre. Amongst the performers are Dan Hill, Luba Goy, Ron Korb and more. This will be our 4th High Notes Gala. We will also be at the Richmond Hill Centre for Performance Arts on November 17th, 2017.
We hope our audience takes away the message that it is possible to move forward despite being touched by mental illness. We want them to know where to turn to and that there is support available. They are not alone. It is important to reach out for help because too often no one seeks help and suffer in silence. There is hope. But you got to take that first step in order to get better.
ANY ADVICE FOR FELLOW ENTREPRENEURS?
I'm generating this awareness through my love for music. It's my contribution with my set of skills. If I had more money, I might have donated a million to research or done something else. I believe we can help all mental health organizations by generating awareness and bringing attention - so philanthropist also realize that mental illness is a big area of need and contribute. Sometimes you just need to start things on your own, rather than wait for somebody to offer you an opportunity to do it. If you see a need, just go ahead and do it.