Big names support a good cause at the 1st annual Dream Serenade, a benefit show coming to Massey Hall on October 25


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(L-R) Feist, Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner of The National and Hayden Desser are among the performers at this year’s Dream Serenade

Image: Massey Hall

For over five years, Toronto songwriter Hayden Desser and his wife, Christie Greyerbiehl, have been hatching a plan. It started coming together bit by small, embryonic bit, beginning when their first child was born with a rare chromosome condition that triggered a developmental disability. But despite the unexpected challenge, hope, not sadness or surrender, prevailed.

“She’s the most beautiful and inspiring person,” Desser says, “and yet our experience as parents has been among the most complex and challenging adventures we’ve ever known.” Recognizing that he and his wife most certainly weren't alone, an idea took shape to help children, their families, and their caregivers affected by developmental disabilities.

Recently come to fruition, that idea became Dream Serenade.

It’s a benefit concert curated by Desser and Greyerbiehl, with the proceeds earmarked to support services dedicated to children with such disabilities. Along with schools and pre-schools, hospitals and services for parents will benefit as well, the idea being to support everyone—from the child to the parent to the people providing care—impacted by the challenges of disability. This year, the first year of what Desser and Greyerbiehl hope will be a growing, ongoing annual event, ticket sales will support the Beverley School, as well as a family relief fund for caregivers.

“Beyond being just an opportunity to raise money for the much deserving recipients,” Greyerbiehl says, “our hope is that this event not only inspires the spirit of generosity but is also a fun night out for the families and school staff, the artists who are generously sharing their time and talents with us, and all those who attend.”

On October 25, the first annual Dream Serenade takes the stage at Massey Hall, with a constellation of starlit names in Canadian music attending. With an intimate, toned-down format, performers include: Feist, Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner of The National, Sarah Harmer, Kevin Hearn of Barenaked Ladies, Jason Collett, Grey Lands, Lou Canon, and of course, a performance from Hayden Desser himself. Tickets range from $50 to $200, going on sale next Wednesday, September 17, at 10:00 am.

“We recognize that our experience as parents of a child with a developmental disability is not unlike the other families at [ Beverley School],” Desser adds. “In those overwhelming and clouded first years, the comfort and support that can be provided to families from specialized services becomes paramount. Dream Serenade will aid both the children and their caregivers.”

 

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