Students at a London Catholic elementary school got quite the surprise when they came to class on Monday.
Not only did they learn that their music program would be receiving thousands of dollars worth of new instruments, but students were also treated to a live performance from a multiplatinum, Juno-nominated artist.
It was all part of an announcement and event put on by the music education charity MusiCounts at St. Paul Catholic Elementary School. The school is receiving $15,000 worth of new musical instruments through the charity’s MusiCounts Band Aid Program.
Charity officials unveiled the donation alongside Juno-nominated pop singer-songwriter bülow, who performed a special surprise acoustic set for those in attendance. Bülow is best known for her Juno-nominated single Not A Love Song and is also nominated for three other 2019 Juno Awards, including Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
But that wasn’t all, said Kristy Fletcher, MusiCounts’ executive director.
“We’re also announcing that the London Juno Host Committee and the City of London were instrumental in raising $130,000 for MusiCounts, and that number is growing through a dollar-per-ticket campaign that they’ve been running since the Junos were announced,” she said on 980 CFPL’s London Live with Mike Stubbs.
That money will go toward supporting schools across the country with musical instruments, something the charity has been doing since its founding in 1997, Fletcher said.
“We’re distributing $1 million worth of instruments overall this year to 96 schools across the country,” Fletcher added.
According to the charity, the purpose of MusiCounts has been to ensure that Canadian kids have access to music programs in their schools and communities. So far, the organization says, nearly 1,000 schools have been helped and more than $11 million has been awarded.
MusiCounts, which is associated with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Junos, was formed in large part to address and alleviate budget cuts made to music education, Fletcher said.
“We like to say in a perfect world, we wouldn’t exist but we are there to help fill in the gap,” she said, noting that the lack of music education seems to be growing. “We’re able to help about one out of every five schools that apply right now. We would like to be able to close that gap a little bit, if possible, but we’ll continue to do the work that we do as long as it’s needed.
“If we can ensure music education survives and flourishes, then we’re doing our job,” she added.
The 2019 Juno Awards take place Mar. 17 at Budweiser Gardens.