Music helps singer find her inner peace

  • May 31, 2010
Singer Rosanna Riverso with Sony Recording artists The Priests. Riverso was a soloist at the show The Priests performed in December at Toronto’s St. Paul’s Basilica. TORONTO - During these uncertain times, Mississauga, Ont., singer-songwriter Rosanna Riverso wants to bring a Christian message of hope, peace and inspiration to all.

“I think we live in a very fast-paced society and even right now, today, are facing a lot of economic, social and spiritual strife,” Riverso told The Catholic Register.

To that end, Riverso has organized the Peace Concert Tour that will take place in three Catholic churches in Southern Ontario. The first concert is on June 6 at Oakville’s St. Matthew’s Catholic Church. The following concerts will be held at Hamilton’s St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church on Sept. 19 and Oct. 8 at Toronto’s St. Paul’s Basilica.

The concerts will feature contemporary songs, hymns, sacred arias and original songs written by Riverso, along with some commentary based on the Gospel of John. Riverso will be joined by Toronto bassist Drew Birston, who has performed with Canadian singers Chantal Kreviazuk and Sarah Slean, jazz percussionist Rosendo Leon, who composed music for an Oscar-nominated documentary, award-winning pianist/band leader Christable Pinto and guitarist Kevin Laliberte who has toured with Jesse Cook.

Riverso said she wanted to help people find their inner peace, a peace she experienced when she first felt called to join the choir and sing at Sunday Mass.

“We can’t have peace with one another without inner peace and a connection with your faith,” she said.

Riverso cites Jesus’ counsel to His disciples about the peace He was leaving with them once he departs as one of her song-writing inspirations.

Riverso also found peace through an unexpected source in 2004, a time of turmoil in her life when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. At that time, Riverso was also starting a new teaching career and planning for her wedding and says she felt “very confused and lonely.”

Her mother’s illness made Riverso reflect upon how life is precious and shouldn’t be taken for granted. She recalled an old melody from her Catholic school days and felt called to return to her passion: music.

In 2007, Riverso was inspired to organize a fundraiser for the Juravinski Cancer Centre called “Harmony for Hope.” It raised about $60,000.

Born and raised in Hamilton, Ont., Riverso started singing at the age of seven at St. Anthony of Padua Church with her sister as organist. She also sang with the Hamilton Children’s Choir. She is classically trained and also writes her own songs in Italian which reflects her connection to her family’s roots.

Her original jazz song “No More” was nominated for Best Jazz Recording at the 2007 Ontario Independent Music Awards. Riverso was a soloist at the December concert featuring Sony Music recording artists The Priests at St. Paul’s Basilica. She also performed at Jimmy Kimmel’s 2008 San Gennaro Festival in Hollywood and at a benefit honouring actor Michael Douglas.

All net proceeds for each Peace Concert Tour performance will be donated to the individual churches or the charities of their choice.

For more information about Riverso, see A CD entitled Let There Be Peace — A Collection of Sacred Songs will be available at the concerts or on Riverso’s web site.

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