For the past five years, MusiCounts in partnership with TD Bank Group have supported diverse music programs across Canada. This year, 27 music programs benefited from instrument grants through the MusiCounts TD Community Music Program. To celebrate this announcement MusiCounts is highlighting a recipient program each week. We reached out to Mary Williams, Business Manager and Development Officer at Sistema New Brunswick (NB) to learn about the impact this grant has had on their organization and community and more.
Q: Can you tell us about the history of Sistema New Brunswick?
A: Sistema NB, a social program of the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, is a free, daily, after-school program for very young, disadvantaged children. Children’s lives are transformed by learning and playing great music together and by belonging to something very special…a children’s orchestra!
Sistema NB began with 50 children in 2009 and has been expanding every year since to serve more disadvantaged children in more communities across the province. Approaching our tenth year, Sistema NB now serves 1000 children everyday after school for 3 hours per day in eight centres: Moncton, Saint John, Richibucto, Tobique First Nation, Edmundston, Miramichi, Hillsborough and Elsipogtog First Nation. This includes 15 children’s orchestras and 2 regional youth orchestras!
Sistema NB began with 50 children in 2009…Sistema NB now serves 1000 children everyday…
Q: Why did your organization apply for a grant for musical instruments through the MusiCounts TD Community Music Program?
A: Too many children remain left out in our society. In New Brunswick, 1 out of 5 children live below the line of poverty and face obstacles that have negative consequences in their lives. Music and the orchestra are a powerful tool that can make a powerful difference in their lives.
To continue to expand to serve more children, we reached out to MusiCounts, in the hope of providing the much-needed instruments to support the opening of a new centre, in January 2018, on the North side of Fredericton, serving children from a particularly low-income community including Saint Mary’s First Nation.
For children, the orchestra means joy and fun, as well as motivation, discipline, teamwork, growing confidence and self-esteem
Q: What is the impact that receiving the grant has had on your students and community?
A: Sistema NB improves the lives of children and their families. For children, the orchestra means joy and fun, as well as motivation, discipline, teamwork, growing confidence and self-esteem. For families, schools and communities it means children whose outlook and behaviour radically turn toward the positive – with life-long benefits.
We are very thankful to have received a MusiCounts TD Community Music Program grant to establish a violin and cello program in the first year of Sistema NB Fredericton. We are currently receiving the instruments that were ordered for the start-up group of 40 children. A special instrument presentation ceremony is planned for early in the New Year and we look forward to our first public concerts that are planned for March and June!
Q: What are the next steps for the program since receiving the grant?
A: It is our plan to grow to a full string orchestra program by the fourth year that will include children from additional, nearby schools. By expanding annually to include more children who can most benefit, we will serve 100 children by the fourth year of Sistema NB Fredericton.
Learn more about Sistema New Brunswick’s programs and the impact they are making within their community by visiting www.sistemanb.ca