Across cultures and religions, music is a shared experience that has the power to bring disconnected individuals together as a community. HEARTBEAT is an event where musicians of different backgrounds will come together and create music that fuses musical genres. Music is a highly expressive language and this event’s musical content will be a dialogue between musicians about belonging, love, and community.
HEARTBEAT is about celebrating our differences and our humanity, and discarding the notion of "us" and "them". Through a concert featuring local musicians and artists, this project aims to create friendships and spark dialogue across communities in Vancouver.
This past year, our concert was held on March 9th, 2019 (doors at 7:00pm) at Highlands United Church. We were excited to feature youth in a mentor-match program where we paired new musicians with past HEARTBEAT artists. Our theme this past year was "conversations" and we highlighted conversations and stories during the concert and intermission, and served food prepared by volunteers from several community groups.
Jessica Heaven (Vancouver)
Gavia Lertzman-Lepofsky (Toronto)
"I would not be singing without Gavia. Her violin's tone and creativity inspire me to be a better musician. She is a wonderful friend, who supports me to be the best version of myself."
- Jessica Heaven
"Jessica inspires me to be a better person, both in my music and in my life. Her energy around social justice seems infinite and so does her quest for musical innovation."
- Gavia Lertzman-Lepofsky
Gavia and Jessica have been working together for two years on a variety of projects. Together, they are the lead organizers of HEARTBEAT and play in several bands together, including jazz trio Ptriodactyl.
Jessica has a diploma in Jazz Studies from Capilano University and a degree in Anthropology and Communication from Simon Fraser University. In the upcoming year, Jessica will begin a Master of Arts in Human Security and Peace Building at Royal Roads in Victoria. Jessica's main passion is to break down boundaries - whether they are between people, societies, or musical ideologies.
Currently based in Toronto, Gavia is pursuing graduate school at the University of Toronto studying macroevolutionary patterns of community diversity. Gavia has played the violin for 17 years and has performed around the world on mountaintops and in more traditional venues. For her, music is a powerful tool to create joy and strong and vibrant communities.
As musicians, Gavia and Jessica recognize and have witnessed the power of music to bridge social divides. They created HEARTBEAT as an effort to foster peace in their community using music as a catalyst.
Organizing the storytelling aspects of HEARTBEAT2019
Rhian Walker is the Minister of Young Adults and Outreach at St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church and brings a love for nurturing the spiritual development of those around her. She is passionate about new expressions of church and believes in the power of spiritual practice and community to transform the suffering in our communities and our world.
She has a Masters of Public and Pastoral Leadership from the Vancouver School of Theology, an MA in Philosophy, Religion and Literature from Sussex University and a BA in Philosophy and Creative Writing from UVIC. The concept of the open table is at the heart of what she feels is transformative about the United Church along with its commitment to true inclusion.
She previously served at the lead minister at the Heartwood Community Café, an LGBTQ social enterprise run by Trinity United, Minister of Outreach and Formation at Lynn Valley United in North Vancouver, and as the Conference Minister for LeaderShift, a professional development program that focuses on the inner and outer skills for leading in the United Church. She is an amateur singer and poet, an average gardener, and is truly, shockingly bad at camping despite growing up on the West Coast. She is married to Brandon Walker and has two young children.