An innovative new campaign is encouraging people in and around Toronto to give their vocal chords a workout in support of Women’s College Hospital.
The Women’s College Hospital Foundation has teamed up with pop rocker Avril Lavigne for the Raise Your Voice initiative.
The campaign will allow Torontonians to step inside a portable soundproof booth and sing along to the chorus of Lavigne’s ballad ‘Keep Holding On’.
Raise Your Voice is designed primarily as an awareness-raising campaign, though there will also be a fundraising component in the coming months.
“We were looking for ways to engage a younger demographic and raise awareness of women’s health especially for younger women,” said Women’s College Hospital Foundation spokesperson Arlene Madell. “The reason we approached Avril is she’s young, she’s globally well-known just like our leading research facility is, and she’s Canadian.”
The soundproof booth is affixed on a truck with Lavigne’s picture and Women’s College Hospital signage on it. It has already made a few stops, including one at the Molson Amphitheatre when Lavigne played there on Labour Day weekend and a more recent stop at the Eaton Centre.
Participants can also upload recordings from home at www.singwithavril.com
“We’ve got over 1,500 (participants) so far and we really want to make this one of the biggest choruses ever recorded,” Madell said.
It is slated to make a few more stops throughout the GTA, including visits to Woodbine Beach, Yorkdale Shopping Centre and the Toronto Zoo. The recorded voices will be added to a remix of ‘Keep Holding On’ with the remixed track due to be released on iTunes this fall.
“The booth is soundproof and all the voices are mixed together, so we’re hoping even people who think ‘oh, I can’t sing’ won’t feel shy,” Madell said. “Hopefully, the song’s a hit and people will be able to hear it and say ‘I was part of that.’”
Funds from iTunes sales will go toward supporting Women’s College Hospital research and the ongoing construction of the hospital’s new site.
The youthful initiative coincides with the redevelopment of the hospital site – it moved into its new digs this April – and serves as a way to reach out to younger women.
“We want to show this is not your grandmother’s hospital, or your mother’s hospital,” Madell said.
Lavigne’s involvement comes through her own foundation, which aims to support children and youth living with serious illnesses or disabilities.
“I am excited to have my fans’ voices together with mine in support of Women’s College Hospital,” she said.
The soundproof booth will make appearances at Woodbine Beach from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21; Yorkdale Shopping Centre from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22; and Toronto Zoo from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28.