Maria Mavridis, a busy businesswoman and mother, continues to raise money through her not-for-profit Anchor Niagara, with one of her most ambitious events to date, a Boyz II Men concert at White Oaks Resort and Spa, held Saturday — White Oaks is another of her partnerships, and often a venue for her events.
The concert was a successful fundraiser for the Hotel Dieu Shaver Rehabilitation Centre, with the total amount of money raised to be announced later this week — and it was a great evening for all who attended, said Mavridis.
The two Boyz who were there had a blast, telling her they had never felt such high energy from a crowd.
Added to the great audience, they met some of her friends helping out, including Tim Bala and Paul Harper, and told her they loved the feel of performing in a small community — everyone seemed so happy to be there.
“They said they felt the heart,” says Mavridis.
This was a special concert for her — Boyz II Men has always been one of her favourites, and it was a dream of hers to see them, but she was never able to get tickets. Saturday night was her chance, and not only did they perform, they hung out with her during part of the day Saturday and again on Sunday.
“They are great guys, and when you’re talking to them, they’re real. They were so interested, asking lots of questions, and they loved what they learned about the town,”
They have one song in particular that has special meaning for Mavridis. A Song for Mama — about a mother who was a guiding force for her children, and always there for them — was played during Maria’s mother’s funeral, after she lost her battle to breast cancer, and Maria says it will always remind her of her mother’s importance family life.
Unfortunately, they didn’t play that song, and explained why.
Only two of the three remaining original members of the band that saw its biggest chart successes in the ’90s were able to make it to White Oaks, Shawn Stockman, and Wanya Morris. The third member, Nathan Morris was not allowed across the border into Canada.
Nathan, they explained, lost his mother to COVID, and that song became too emotional for all of them. They’ve decided never to perform it again.
Shawn and Wanya on their own delivered a great performance of their hits, as well as some interesting cover versions of Eric Clapton, the Beatles and Journey songs.
About 600 tickets were sold for the Anchor Niagara event.
With files from Mike Balsom