• December 2014
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  • The Honouree

    It is with great pleasure that the Jewish National Fund will pay tribute to long-time broadcaster Bill Brady at this year’s Negev Dinner in London, Ontario. Bill will be recognized for his outstanding philanthropic endeavours in London and beyond, and for his support for the Jewish community and Israel.

    With a distinguished broadcast career spanning six decades, Bill was an early pioneer of call-in shows in Canada and was seen nationally on Canadian television networks, including hosting a late-night variety show on CTV.

    Bill chose to base his home and career in London, joining CFPL in 1964 where he hosted both radio and television programs. In 1983, he was appointed general manager of CFPL and CFPL-FM, later becoming vice-president and then president of CFPL Broadcasting. In 1995, he was appointed senior vice-president of The Blackburn Group Inc.

    Bill is well known for his quick wit and passionate views on many subjects and has always been a strong advocate for inclusion while speaking out against discrimination. Health advocacy and education is a lifelong passion and his volunteer life is well documented, including serving as past chairman of University Hospital and on the London Health Sciences Centre Foundation board of directors who all admire him. A co-founder of Transplant International (Canada), Bill is founding director and past chair of the Robarts Research Institute. He is also a past chair of the London Community Foundation and past president of the London Hunt and Country Club.

    He has received numerous awards, including being named a member of The Order of Canada in 1991. After receiving an honorary LL.D degree from Western University, he was inducted into Canada’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1996, and in 2010 was inducted into the London Business Hall of Fame.

    Bill reserves a special place in his life for his family: his loving wife, Mary Ann, daughters Linda and Laura and grandsons Matthew and Mark, who all adore him.

    The Project

    Bill Brady has asked that proceeds from the 2014 Negev Dinner be directed towards the ongoing work on the Recycled Water Reservoir in Sederot, a town close to Israel’s border with Gaza.
    Given that Israel has depleting renewable water sources, the future of its water supply depends on the country’s ability to develop new sources of water, such as wastewater recycling. KKL-JNF has become a leader in developing the needed technology.

    The Sederot reservoir is one example of this process. Located just northeast of the town, it is the final stage in a complex process for purifying sewage so it can be reused for irrigation. The recycled effluents treated there will irrigate 1,250 acres of agricultural fields and orchards in the region, as well as reducing water pollution which would otherwise cause serious environmental damage to the nearby Nahal Shikma Nature Reserve.

    The first stage of this scheme was inaugurated in 2010 as a legacy to the late Natan Parsons, a former vice-president of JNF USA. Funds from the 2012 Negev events in Calgary and Vancouver were directed to the project, which when completed, will have a storage capacity of one million cubic metres of treated wastewater.

    The Sederot Recycled Water project is particularly significant in a region which is under constant bombardment from Gaza. KKL-JNF takes pride in being able to contribute to the stability of the region, and London JNF is proud to expand this work through the funds raised at this dinner.

    The Entertainment

    Be prepared for an incredible show! Headlining the entertainment will be London’s award-winning jazz songstress Sonja Gustafson. She is a talented vocalist with a unique style and polish. Honest and soulful in her delivery and grace, Sonja Gustafson is dazzling whether performing passionate ballads, lively melodies or popular covers. Her collaborations with many of London’s top jazz instrumentalists led to the release of her self-titled debut CD in 2007, as well as a double Christmas CD released in December 2010.

    She is also an accomplished classical soprano with a Master of Music degree from the University of Western Ontario. Sonja’s love of opera led her to establish her own production company, Diva Lounge Productions, which produces fully-staged chamber operas and has enjoyed five successful seasons at the London Fringe Festival. She is also a regular guest with Orchestra London in their Pops series.

    Sonja will be joined by Parallax, a band well known as a smooth jazz quintet.

    Parallax was started in 2009 by Rob Thibert, a London cardiologist. Out of a love of the smooth jazz genre and the availability of some top-notch London musicians with similar interests, Parallax has been playing regularly at local venues and private functions.

    The repertoire of the band is diverse and includes favourites from Grover Washington, Jr., Sade, Steely Dan, Spyro Gyra and many more.

    The band consists of Rob Thibert on saxes, Fred Blumas on guitar, Ron Nauta on keyboards and vocals, Rick McClelland on bass and John Knapp on percussion.