Now Playing:

Jackie Richardson talks Turkey, The Tiaras & The Hymns To Freedom Project

Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore speaks with Canada's Queen of Jazz, Blues & Gospel; singer, actress and activist Jackie Richardson.

Award-winning musicians Corey Butler and Jackie Richardson are set to come together in one unforgettable night to say through song: “We are better together.”

The Toronto Centre for the Arts will play host this May 5th, 2018 to Butler’s one-of-a-kind compositions in The Hymns to Freedom Project.

Featuring original compositions and backed by a full Chamber orchestra, the evening will blend together messages of love and unity among Classical music and African American Negro Spiritual song.

“The Hymns to Freedom Project communicates the ideals of love, respect, and unity to this and the next generation. All who attend can expect to be deeply moved and challenged by world class compositions, musicianship and the message that, “We are better together.”

With a hat-tip to Oscar Peterson in its title, The Hymns to Freedom Project will lay bare the ideals of love, respect and unity to both this and the next generation, having offered up a unique private viewing experience to area schools during dress rehearsals May 4th.

Tickets are available for Saturday, May 5th for $45. VIP tickets, which include an invitation to the exclusive VIP reception to follow, are $65.

This special evening is presented in collaboration with Zamar Music Productions Inc. and Jones & Jones Productions, and is supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

The Hymns to Freedom Project
Saturday, May 5th @ 7:00pm
Toronto Centre for the Arts
5040 Yonge St. N, North York

Tickets and more info:


The Hymns to Freedom Project comes at a moment in our society of heightened racial tensions particularly between members of the black and white communities. In recent times, several decades after the abolishment of slavery and the Civil Rights movement, we still witness repeated incidents of police brutality resulting in the deaths of innocent black men, white supremacists rallies with participants bearing torches and chanting racist slurs, and racially controversial remarks coming from the most powerful political figure in the world.

But despite what we read in the headlines, this is not the full story. The Hymns to Freedom Project communicates the truth that love and unity are more powerful forces than hate and discord. Inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., award winning producer and composer, Corey Butler, created a show featuring his very own compositions which will be supported by a large Chamber Orchestra and renowned actress and singer, Toronto’s own, Jackie Richardson. The orchestra is comprised of avid and skilled players from all over the Greater Toronto Area and represented by many different cultural backgrounds.

Butler’s compositions are a fusion of Classical Music and the African American Negro Spiritual and highlights the seemingly unlikely influences the genres have on each other as well as their similarities. The tension and resolution in the pieces is juxtaposed against the historical and current racial environment and puts on clear display that when united, our differences can blend together to create magical masterpieces.

Jackie Richardson and Corey Butler at JAZZ.FM91


Jackie Richardson is an electrifying, award-winning, world-class performer and one of Canada’s foremost singers of gospel, blues and jazz whose career includes performances in concert, radio, television and recordings. She has performed across Canada and in countries around the world. Jackie has received the NAACP, Juno, Betty, Dora, Jesse, Gemini, South African Women for Women Awards and Nominations.

Jackie was also presented with Lifetime Achievement Awards from The Toronto Blues Society, The Canadian Black Achievement Awards, The Ken Page Memorial Trust and The Canadian Equity Association. She holds a number of additional awards and honours that have been bestowed on her and most recently was honoured by PAL Canada Foundation.

High on Jackie’s list are community and global concerns, and some of her most vital areas of support is for The Regent Park community, The Steven Lewis Foundation’s Grandmother’s Campaign (HIV/AIDS project), and The Princess Margaret Hospital. Jackie is known to be very passionate about the need to bring more focus and support to children and women’s issues.


Corey Butler currently serves as the Musical Director of the Juno Award winning Toronto Mass Choir. He has written songs with Grammy Award winning Hall of Fame inductee Carvin Winans and has played with some of the finest musicians and singers in Toronto including Jackie Richardson and Andrew Craig.

Corey is also a music professor in the Music Industry Arts Performance (MIAP) program at Centennial College and one of the course directors of the York University Gospel Choir at York University. He continues to make a mark on the music industry in Canada having produced the Toronto Mass Choir’s 1st Christmas album, “A Christmas Gift”, and their most recent album, “Made For Worship”, both of which have won multiple GMA Covenant awards.

In addition to his skills as a piano player, musical director and producer, Butler also regularly conducts a 50+ piece symphony orchestra that has played compositions by himself and others from around the world such as Camp Kirkland, particularly during the Easter and Christmas seasons. You can also hear his compositions on many of the recordings he's produced.

To that end he has gained a reputation in that arena and is affectionately called 'The Maestro'.

Corey has a passion for composing music and producing concerts that address the social and cultural issues we face within our communities. With that said, Zamar Music Productions Inc. was established to affect the lives of underprivileged and marginalized people by exposing them to music and musical opportunities and to establish musical development programs for children and youth, allowing them to be exposed to a medium of expression they wouldn't normally be exposed to.

Over the years, Corey has mentored many young musicians and continues to do so at the College and University levels. He has a heart and passion to see the legacy of great musicianship and musical literacy continue throughout Toronto, especially within his ethic community.

Senior ArtsEditor Mark Wigmore is heard at 8:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays during the Jazz FM91 Arts Report. And don’t miss his arts and culture interview and entertainment magazine program, Arts Toronto, Sundays between 8-9 a.m. To get in touch with Mark it’s

Sorry, you need to register and log in to post a comment.

New York Festivals Awards

The Jazz Messenger

Sign up to receive our weekly e-newsletter, The Jazz Messenger.

Jazz Calendar Login

Forgot your password? Forgot your username?