Selina McCallum

It was a night full of good vibes this past Monday night in Scarborough. R.I.S.E., which stands for Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere, held their final event of performances for 2019. 

RISE is a youth-led movement that has been providing opportunities and spaces for youth to develop artistically and professionally for the last 7 years.

Randell Adjei is the Founder and Executive Director of RISE. Adjei and his team at RISE have created a safe and inclusive space that fosters self-expression and healing through performance arts and storytelling.

Every Monday night, people of all backgrounds, age, and ethnicities flock to Burrows Hall Community Centre on 1081 Progress Ave. to share their artistic talents or watch other artists from communities all over the Greater Toronto Area.

The electric, super talented and bubbly Spoken Word Artist known as Britta B was the host for the night. For the last RISE of the year, they didn’t have an open mic, but had performers that have been a part of RISE all year perform.

One of them was Lost is Found, a collective of creatives founded by Nigel Edwards, also known as Nomvdslvnd of the Moon Runners. Berma, who is a member of the core team as well as the Creative Consultant for the crew, took the stage to introduce the dancers.

But before he did, he took the time to honour a dear friend that passed away in the summer. Jordan Veira, also known as JV, was extremely active in the RISE and artist community. He also had his own platform for artists called Spoke n’ Heard where artists could perform and share their stories through artistic expression.

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“We’re going to do something different. We’re not going to honour JV with silence, because that goes against everything he believed in. We’re going to honour him with noise,” said Berma. “Just like JV, we are disruptors.”

The crowd roared, cheered and stomped their feet to honour the magnificent friend and artist that JV was.

After the dancers of Lost is Found performed, the founder did a solo piece. If the flow of water was a human, it would be Nigel. His body movement matched the music so perfectly that it looked like his body parts were rippling along with the sound waves. The entire crowd was in awe.

It’s not too late to see Lost is Found before the year ends.

“Lost Is Found is coming up on its 5 year anniversary, so we have a lot of cool stuff coming up and in the works. But in the meantime, we’ll be at Long Winter and taking over the Harbourfront skating rink this Friday night so that’s super exciting,” said Berma.

She has been performing in live shows since the age of 4. She has appeared on YTV and 1010 News Talk.

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The Canadian National Poetry Slam 2019 Champions also performed. Joshua Scribe Watkis and Desiree Mckenzie, two of the four members, recited a poem about culture and conforming by hiding your accent.

“Appreciate the toned down tones of my mother tongue,” they said in synchronization.

Soulful Noise, a choir group, sang many songs in beautiful harmony. My favourite one they performed by far is God is a Woman by Ariana Grande.

Closing the show was the most brilliant 12 year old girl I have ever seen. Her name is Azalyne Klukowski. Her confidence, strength and stage presence made it hard to believe the young singer had just turned 12 last month.

Her song that she wrote called, You Are Mighty, is available on all streaming platforms. She was inspired to write it after being replaced in a huge production just the day before the opening show.

“What a great way to end the show, with the future,” said Adjei when Azalyne was done her set.

RISE usually returns in the new year in February, but in 2020 they will be back every Monday in March. The team will be taking the time off to create new opportunities and strategize new ideas for RISE.