Montreal Cello Ensemble gives young musicians chance to excel, free of cost

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WATCH: Montreal Cello Ensemble gives young musicians chance to excel, free of cost – May 15, 2022

The Montreal Cello Ensemble provides equipment and music lessons free of cost to children that might have never had the opportunity to play.

Six-year-old Amaka Idaboh was the very first student to apply for the program two years ago. Now, the grade one student is playing cello at a university level and has even released her debut song called ‘I love my Barbie doll.’

“I don’t know how I would have afforded to pay for this kind of lessons with the experienced instructors that she has, if not for the generosity of the foundation,” said her mother, Joan Idaboh.

Aside from tapping keys on the piano, her daughter had never played an instrument. When the family moved from Nigeria to Montreal in 2018, Joan didn’t even know the cello existed.

“Before we came to Canada, I mean, I had heard of the violin. I had heard of the guitar. I had never, ever, ever seen a cello,” the mom told Global News.

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When Amaka was four years old, the family could not afford daycare in Montreal. The mom and daughter were staying at home together when a neighbour suggested the four-year-old audition for a new group, The Montreal Cello Ensemble.

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The Montreal Cello Ensemble gives Montreal children a full scholarship and the opportunity to learn and perform with cellists Genevieve Guimond and Gary Russell of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

Guimond told Global News that Idaboh is the exact child the program is trying to reach.

“A child that has this enormous talent and this enormous ability and something that they probably wouldn’t have sought out on their own.”

Idaboh auditioned at age four and was “thrilled” with the cello, according to her mom.

“I saw the glimmer in her eyes and I’m like, okay, that’s good,” said Joan.

Her teachers said it wasn’t just a glimmer, but a natural talent from the start.

“I remember the wonderful audition that she did,” said Russell. “She’s clearly a performer and she had sung beautifully in tune.”

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Idaboh was one of 15 kids chosen out of 100 auditions. Now, the grade one student practices almost every day and plays with the ensemble once a week on Saturday.

“It’s just great,” she said of playing the cello, adding “There’s so much songs to play.”

Idaboh’s mom is continuously surprised by her daughter’s talent, joking that she doesn’t come from a musical family.

“It can’t be me, it can’t be her dad. I guess she was born with it,” she said, laughing.

The six-year-old dreams one day she will become “an expert at playing and get money,” to support her future children.

“Like, if my children want any hotdogs, I’ll buy it for them,” she said.

For now, Idaboh plans on writing more songs and encourages other children to play the cello.

“It’s hard, but it’s fun to learn.”

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