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Build 2000


Great Canadians Come Out to Support Peter Gzowski College


October 16 variety show features Susan Aglukark, John McDermott, Shelagh Rogers, Graham Greene, Dinah Christie, Tom Cochrane

Saturday, October 16, 2004, Peterborough

At a special event called An Evening with Peter's Friends – a celebration in support of Peter Gzowski College, held October 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Showplace Peterborough, Trent University rolled out the red carpet for an impressive list of Canadian talent.

CBC's Shelagh Rogers hosted an array of celebrities including Susan Aglukark, Donna Bennett. Roberta Bondar, Dinah Christie, Tom Cochrane, Alison Gordon, Graham Greene, John Gzowski, Molly Johnson, C. David Johnson, George Leach, and John McDermott – all in support of the new Peter Gzowski College which officially opened the same day at 2 p.m.  

The evening was lively and entertaining, as celebrities performed in honour of their friend, the late Peter Gzowski, chancellor of Trent University from 1999 to 2002. At a reception after the show, live and silent auctions took place featuring items such as a Yukon adventure for six; one week at a 12th century townhouse in France; dinner with Peterborough's famed Calendar Girls; a weekend at The Briars with meals, two rounds of golf and two hours of spa treatment; tickets to Stratford; perennials from Century Lane Farm and at-home gardening consultation with Rachel Burrows; four platinum tickets to a Raptors Game; Rolls Royce transportation for four with champagne and a traveling meal at three fabulous area restaurants; and so much more.

A limited number of $25 student tickets were made available thanks to a generous donation by alumni Robin Quantick and Laurie Davey-Quantick, parents of Sarah Quantick, a student in Trent University's Ecuador program.

A short biography for each of the performers follows.

Susan Aglukark

This Juno Award-winning singer/songwriter is one of Canada's most unique artists. Her blending of the Inuktitut and English languages with contemporary pop music arrangements tells the stories of her people, the Inuit of Arctic Canada. Her political & social awareness have made her a role model to many, as well as an uplifting motivational speaker.

Donna Bennett

A soprano singer who is active on both sides of the concert stage, Donna Bennett has performed opera and concerts in Europe, Great Britain and the US. In Canada, she has sung with the Canadian Opera Company, Royal Opera, Opera Atelier, the Kitchener-Waterloo and London Orchestras. With her husband, Brian Finley, she co-founded the Westben Arts Festival Theatre in Campbellford, near Peterborough. The "Westben Concerts at The Barn" feature 52 events in a beautiful 400 seat custom timber framed building, situated on a 50 acre farm in the rolling hills of Northumberland, accompanied by a grassy meadow, a babbling brook and a mighty chorus of song birds. Tonight this song-bird graces our stage.

Dinah Christie
Dinah Christie, the performer, has been singing, dancing and acting all over North America with indefatigable energy since her twelfth birthday when her father gave her a guitar. Christie's career got under way when she was hired as a 'call boy' at the age of twelve by the Stratford Shakespearean Festival in Canada. However, it was not long before she was appearing on stage and remained a resident member of the company for four seasons. This was quickly followed by her role of singing Hostess on the highly controversial C.B.C. Television network show,' This Hour Has Seven Days'. Her 10 years on the comedic Party Game series and her co-star role with Don Adams in 'Check It Out' lead to 2 gemini awards. She earned another for her C.B.C. special, 'Dinah and Friends'.

Tom Cochrane

Singer-songwriter Tom Cochrane is a Canadian music legend, seven-time Juno Award winner, and member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Known for having penned some great songs over the years, Tom Cochrane is a sonic journalist committed to making meaningful music that explores the human condition. His music goes beyond just straight rock 'n' roll, utilizing a wide range of musical influences including rock, folk, blues, and world music.

Graham Greene

One of Canada's busiest and best known acting exports, Graham Greene is a respected actor of stage, television and film with appearances in over 40 films. He is also recognized for his earlier theatre experience with Native Earth Performing Arts & Tomson Highway's play Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing. Recently, he received kudos for his hosting of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and appearance in the hot Toronto International Film Festival film Phil the Alien. Tonight he sings for us.

Alison Gordon

Alison Gordon is the author of six mystery novels and one non-fiction book on baseball. She is chair of the Book and Periodical Council, as well as past president of PEN Canada and the Crime Writers of Canada. She has also served on the Writers' Union National Council and was North American vice president of the International Association of Crime Writers.

John Gzowski

Some may know him for his compositions of music for modern dance, film & television or new music or perhaps as a sound designer, instrument maker or guitar player with extensive experience in classical, experimental, rock, jazz and world music. Others may know him as the winner of 4 Dora Mavor Moore Awards for his theatre work, or simply as John Gzowski, musical Renaissance man, son of Peter.

C. David Johnson

Born in Montreal, transplanted to the Maritimes, and now based in Toronto, David began his career with Theatre New Brunswick, where he has continued to perform for over twenty five years. Audiences will remember him as the morally dubious Chuck Tchobanian on the long running CBC series "Street Legal". He has also performed with the Soulpepper Theatre Company in Toronto, the Stratford Festival Company, and the National Arts Centre Company, and in regional theatres across Canada. With extensive credits in film and TV as well as theatre, David is also an avid fisherman. He's off to Neptune Theatre in Halifax, where he will be performing in

Jason Sherman's "Three in the Back Two in the Head" in October/November.

Molly Johnson

Molly Johnson has earned her reputation as one of Canada's greatest voices. Her accomplishments in blues, jazz and rock have moved audiences across the country. Recipient of the Canadian National Jazz Awards and most recently Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition, she is a dedicated art activist and is committed to numerous charity organizations. Molly lives in the Annex neighbourhood of Toronto, with her sons, her husband, and their dog.

George Leach

George Leach's rich musical history draws from his upbringing as a child of the Sta'atl'imx Nation, nestled in the majestic mountain terrain of Lillooet, British Columbia. George's soulful rock-driven music derives from both mainstream music and a cherished tradition of Aboriginal music. In 2000, George Leach released his debut CD to much acclaim. Since then, he has been on the road as a sought-after performer at festivals, theatres, clubs and galas across North America. George is also a talented and accomplished actor. Presently, he is working on another CD.

John McDermott

John McDermott's accomplishments have become legendary in recording industry lore. In the last ten years he has released nine full-length albums, three of them Canadian platinum records, garnered five Juno nominations and packed a solid international touring schedule. He calls Toronto and Boston home. John is known as much for his successful musical career as for his commitment to veterans' causes.

Shelagh Rogers

Shelagh Rogers is the perpetual host. Currently, she is enjoying her 24th season on CBC Radio. She is the founding host of Sounds Like Canada.  Earlier in her career, she hosted CBC Radio's premier current affairs program This Morning, as well as Take Five, and later on became the deputy host of Morningside with Peter Gzowski, her dear friend. Her outside activities include seventeen years of volunteering for Frontier College, Canada's largest literacy network. Shelagh has hosted numerous literacy golf tournaments from Whitehorse to Charlottetown, from Regina to Cape Dorset. And tonight we are very lucky to have her as the fabulous host of An Evening with Peter's Friends: a Celebration in Support of Peter Gzowski College.

More information about Peter Gzowski College is available at


For more information about the event and the new Peter Gzowski College, please contact Susan Mackle, vice-president (advancement) at (705) 748-1011 ext. 1207 or Marilyn Burns, director of communications (705) 748-1303.


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Last Updated October 18, 2004