TORONTO — A Toronto organization providing live musical entertainment for events came under fire after an email from its management suggested it would only feature vocalists who are "fit and slim'' in its boutique orchestras.
Sydney Dunitz, who said she has worked as a volunteer vocalist with Sheraton Cadwell Orchestras for about five years, said she received the email on Monday night and posted a screen shot of it on Facebook, where it has since been shared more than 600 times.
"It has been brought to our attention that although almost all of our vocalists are fit and slim — the way our boutique orchestras would like our front line performing artists to be — two of our featured singers were not,'' the email Dunitz received said.
"Kindly note that for all future shows ... only singers who are physically fit and slim (or, at the very least, those who know how to dress strategically/suitably in order to not bring attention to their temporary physical/dietary indulgences) would be showcased with our boutique orchestras.''
The email also said the organization doesn't have the same expectations of instrumental musicians because they are "essentially background wallpaper.''
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Dunitz said she was shocked by the email, which she said goes beyond the parameters of a dress code.
The Toronto resident, who also owns and works at a fitness studio, said she felt compelled to speak out because she tries to enforce body positivity at work every day.
"I deal with women's body issues and self-consciousness,'' she said. "For me to receive an email like that — which blatantly goes against everything I do, everything I believe in — was quite an undercut and it was quite shocking.''
She noted that a performer's weight says nothing about their musical ability.
Orchestra says it will shut down
When asked for comment, Sheraton Cadwell said in an email that its management was resigning and that the organization would be shutting down. It wasn't clear if the reason the company was shutting down was related to the email Dunitz received.
"In consideration of recent events in our personal lives, we hope that you would accept our notice of resignation with immediate effect,'' the email addressed to its members said.
Incorporated in 1991, the company said it provides musicians to perform at weddings, corporate functions and other events around the city.
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