Syrian refugee family given loud ovation during Stouffville concert

Local MP and national Health Minister Jane Philpott talks to the audience about Stouffville Cares and the current status of Syrian refugees coming to Canada.
Local MP and national Health Minister Jane Philpott talks to the audience about Stouffville Cares and the current status of Syrian refugees coming to Canada.
Grande Finale featuring Jason Wilson and the Perennials, Greg Mashinter, George Sawa and Suzanne Meyers Sawa.
Grande Finale featuring Jason Wilson and the Perennials, Greg Mashinter, George Sawa and Suzanne Meyers Sawa.

Faisal Fandi thanks community, Stouffville Cares and Canadian government

Well on their way to settling in, Stouffville’s newest family ­– the Fandis – were given a roaring ovation at the Lebovic Centre for Arts and Entertainment 19 on the Park on Saturday.

The theatre was at near capacity as a show sponsored by local organization Stouffville Cares took the audience on a musical journey around the world.

It featured four acts: two-time Juno-nominated Jason Wilson – who organized the event – & The Perennials, Stouffville alternative folk musician Greg Mashinter, York Region’s chorale The Tudor Consort and legendary musician George Dimitri Sawa, specializing in traditional Arabic music.

Markham-Stouffville MP and Health Minister Jane Philpott addressed the crowd, thanking Stouffville Cares and sponsorship groups across the country. It was her first time meeting the Fandi family.

Through translator Joe Bishouty of Stouffville, father Faisal Fandi thanked the community, Stouffville Cares and the Canadian government for all they had done for him and his family of six.

The concert welcomed the Fandis to Stouffville and was in support of Syrian refugees. It’s a breath of relief as the Fandi children are back in school with the whole family learning English after an arduous four-year journey that began with outbreak of the Syrian civil war.

“The cause is great, our first family is wonderful,” said Wilson, who performed with his band and is a member of the Stouffville Cares board. “We are just as lucky as they are to have a wonderful family like them in our community.”

Approximately 25,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Canada since November 2015.

Credit: Stouffville Sun-Tribune