By Nicole Trigg
Thanks to the tremendous outpouring of community support for its first fundraising project, the Windermere Valley Musicians Who Care non-profit has been able to make a substantial donation to the music program at Windermere Elementary School. On Friday, May 23rd, the school received 25 ukeleles to jumpstart its music program, previously run without instruments.
I think this is awesome, said Windermere Elementary principal Steve Bentley. especially in such tight times financially; we could never afford to do this ourselves.
The schools music program, taught by Kindergarten to Grade 7 Core French teacher Tara Whittick, has up until now worked mostly with rhythm sticks and song.
Mrs. Whittick will be doing professional development through the summer months to prepare for teaching the ukelele to large groups.
(Retired J.A. Laird music teacher) Bruce Childs and (current J.A. Laird/Eileen Madson Primary music teacher) Lisa OSullivan will be mentoring me and then the staff who are interested in learning will pick it up and join in, she said.
The instrument will be introduced as part of the music curriculum come September, but it might not be possible at first to introduce it to every grade, Mrs. Whittick said.
We might begin small with one class then gradually increase the number of classes, she said. Well start small and grow it so that its a sustainable program that is done well.
The idea for the donation grew out of a conversation between Mrs. Whittick and Mr. Childs, when he subbed at the school one day. After learning that Windermere Elementary didnt have any instruments, Mr. Childs who is also a member of the Windermere Valley Musicians who Care suggested that a donation to the school might be a good fit for the funds generated from sales of the non-profits first fundraising project, the Christmas in the Valley CD that sold 1,000 copies in December.
Ukeleles were decided upon because of their comfortable size for children and their ability to play different melodies and harmonies more easily than other instruments, Mrs. Whittick said.
We want to have the growth of music and where better to start than with the kids, said Windermere Valley Musicians who Care member Mike Smith, who was at the school for the arrival of the instruments. We just thought this was a great opportunity.
Twenty-five is the number of instruments any school music class needs, he said, adding that the donation is the first one the non-profit has made from its Music Growth Fund. Funds the group raises also benefit the Columbia Valley Food Bank.
The Windermere Valley Musicians who Care are currently in post-production with their second CD project titled Songwriters in the Valley. Proceeds from the sales will this time go toward funding a full sound system for the new multi-use centre planned for Invermere. They are halfway to their goal of raising money for the CD s production and encourage the public to make a donation at www.indiegogo.com/projects/songwriters-in-the-valley.
For their donation, they get a CD or they can sponsor a song or they can get a front row seat for our release party, said Mr. Smith, adding that a video of the group talking about their latest project can also be viewed on the donation site.
To learn more and to purchase their last CD, Christmas in the Valley, visit www.musicianswhocare.ca .