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Carey Price, Jonas and Corey Diabo surprise students with musical instruments in Kahnawake

Singer Jonas, guitar player Corey Diabo and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price visit students at Kahnawake Survival School , Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Lucas Rupnik/Evenko

MONTREAL – When the students at Kahnawake Survival School walked into their gymnasium on Wednesday, March 23, they didn’t know what to expect.

“You guys sort of know something is up right?” asked host Anne-Marie Withenshaw, an ambassador and member of the Evenko Foundation board of directors.

Soon after, singer Jonas and guitarist Corey Diabo — a Kahnawake native — from band Jonas and the Massive Attraction, as well as Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price walked in.

The excitement was palpable.

“All of these instruments that are in front of you are all yours now,” said Withenshaw, pointing to a row of guitars as the children started cheering.

The event was part of the Evenko Foundation‘s In Harmony With Our Schools initiative, which aims to support young talent.

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The donation to the Kahnawake Education Center was its second major donation of musical instruments, including several guitars, a double bass and over 60 percussion instruments to help improve the music programs at Kahnawake Survival School, as well as at two elementary schools, Kateri School and Karonhianonhnha School.

“This was a very special day for us. The reaction from the students and the teachers when they saw the foundation’s donation was very moving,” said Roman Oryschuk, chairman of the Evenko Foundation.

“We’re also very grateful that Jonas, Corey Diabo and Carey Price came to inspire young people to discover their passion, be it the arts or sports, and to pursue it.”

Price, who hails from the small indigenous community on Anahim Lake, B.C., reminded the students to always follow their dreams.

“I was sitting on a gym floor like yourselves. It wasn’t easy to get here. I gave everything I had to get here,” he told the students.

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Singer Jonas, guitarist Corey Diabo, Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price and host Anne-Marie Withenshaw pose for a picture with students and teachers at Kahnawake Survival School, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Lucas Rupnik/Evenko
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Singer Jonas just before his performance at Kahnawake Survival School, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Lucas Rupnik/Evenko
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Singer Jonas, guitarist Corey Diabo, Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price and host Anne-Marie Withenshaw pose for a picture at Kahnawake Survival School, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Lucas Rupnik/Evenko
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Singer Jonas and guitarist Corey Diabo perform at Kahnawake Survival School, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Lucas Rupnik/Evenko
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Singer Jonas and guitarist Corey Diabo perform at Kahnawake Survival School, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Lucas Rupnik/Evenko
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Singer Jonas on stage at Kahnawake Survival School, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Lucas Rupnik/Evenko
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Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price looks out at the crowd during a speech at Kahnawake Survival School, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Lucas Rupnik/Evenko
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Singer Jonas and guitarist Corey Diabo take a selfie with students at Kahnawake Survival School, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Lucas Rupnik/Evenko

He spoke proudly of his First Nations culture.

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Price’s mother, a former band council chief of the Ulkatcho First Nation, was the first woman to be elected to the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

“I encourage everybody here to find a passion in your life,” said Price.

“Everyone in here has a talent and one day you’ll find that, you’ll find something that you’re really passionate about and you’ll want to do that every day.”

“I encourage you to pursue that and I just want to see you guys succeed. That’s what it comes down to.”

The foundation has pledged to donate $100,000 worth of musical instruments to Quebec schools this year.

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

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