Margaret Atwood is a prolific writer of books of fiction, poetry and essays, Atwood’s
work has been recognized with Giller and Booker prize awards, and been adapted for
stage, TV and film. She has won multiple literary prizes, earned 25 honorary doctorates
from universities around the globe, and is a member of the Order of Ontario, and the
Order of Canada.
Natalie MacMaster has completed 11 albums, performed in thousands of shows
and worked with world renowned artists since releasing her first album at 16.
She’s dedicated to keeping Cape Breton alive in her music, and delights audience
when step dancing is part of her show. She’s earned two Juno awards, and 11 East Coast Music Awards. MacMaster tours extensively with her husband, Donnell Leahy, and their six children.
Donnell Leahy, a fiddler from the age of 3, tours not only with his wife
Natalie MacMaster (and their six children), but also with seven of his siblings as the
award-winning group Leahy. He is recognized as one of the best Celtic fiddlers in the
world, and his high energy playing makes him a popular performer.
Murray McLauchlan is a multiple Juno-award winner. Murray's work struck a chord
with Canada’s working class, which enabled him to sustain a career in Canada. His best
known songs, Down by the Henry Moore, On the Boulevard, Whispering Rain and
Try Walking’ Away contributed to three of his 25 albums being certified gold.
McLauchlan is a popular CBC Radio and TV personality, and is one quarter of the band Lunch at Allen’s, with Marc Jordan, Ian Thomas and Cindy Church. He is a member of the Order of Canada, and has sat on the boards of SOCAN, the Songwriters Association of Canada, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Room 217 Foundation, for which he has spearheaded two Voices that Care concerts.
Albert Schultz is the founder and artistic director of Soulpepper Theatre, Toronto’s
largest not-for-profit theatre company. He is a stage actor, and has performed in CBC’s
Street Legal and Side Effects, was the lead in Shades of Black and has hosted the
Geminis four times. Queen’s and Bishop’s Universities have bestowed honourary degrees in recognition of his contribution to theatre.
Ben Heppner has performed in a wide number of roles in opera houses around the
world, as well as recording many operas, orchestral and solo performances. Among
the awards Heppner has won over the course of his career are two Juno Awards and
a Grammy, as well as honourary degrees from UBC, Queen’s, McMaster Divinity
College, University of Newfoundland, University of Toronto and McGill University. Heppner has been appointed to the Order of Canada. Retired form performing, Heppner hosts two radio shows on CBC.
Travis Knights, tap dancer, was cast as a principal dancer in the biography of
Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, was the principal tap dancer in the video game adaptation
of Warner Brothers’ Happy Feet, and has been a tap dance consultant for Cirque du
Soleil. Travis danced at the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, spent three years as principal dancer in a company in Texas, has a web series in which tap dance pioneers are featured, records a weekly podcast and has a YouTube show called Midnight.
Matt Andersen, blues singer-songwriter and guitarist, continues to wow audiences
around the world, and bring home hardware. Matt won the 2013 and 2016 European
Blues Award for best solo/acoustic act, three Maple Blues Awards in 2012, 2010
International Blues Challenges in Memphis (the first Canadian to win in the event’s 26-year history), a Juno nomination, a CIMA Road Gold award, and three consecutive Maple Blues Awards for Male Vocalist of the Year.
Denise Donlon, broadcaster, business executive, television producer and host will
host Voices that Care. Last year, she published an autobiography Fearless as Possible
(Under the Circumstances. Donlon is a member of the Order of Canada, was named
one of Canada’s Top 100 Powerful Women, was Canadian Music Week’s Broadcast
Executive of the Year three times, and won the Peter Gzowski Literacy Award of Merit, a Woman of Vision Award, and Woman of the Year form Canadian Women in Communications. She earned two Gemini Awards, and a Golden Sheaf Award.