Sooke Harmony Project brings music education to everyone

Youth get to experience a wide range of musical classics for free

By Sheila Whincup

Organizers of Harmony Project Sooke invite all lovers of music and supporters of music education to a fund raising concert on Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Journey Middle School gymnasium.

The concert will help to kick off an exciting new project to provide music education to a wider range youth in the Sooke area.

Featured performers includes the Strings of the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra, soprano soloist Nancy Washeim, Sooke Harbour String Quartet, West Coast Chamber Players and several top local student instrumentalists.

The project is modeled on the award-winning Harmony Project in Los Angeles, which uses music education as an intervention tool for at-risk and under-served youth.

The idea was initiated by Maestro Norman Nelson of the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra, who first visited the Harmony Project in Los Angeles a few years ago.

“I found it so moving to walk into a rather downtrodden school and see the kids just gobbling up the music. They held a concert where for 90 minutes, child after child performed to a rapt audience of their families and the public,” Nelson said.

The original Harmony Project was founded by Margaret Martin, who went from being a homeless single mother to earning a doctorate degree.

Harmony Project’s mission is to promote the healthy growth and development of children through study, practice and performance of music, to build healthier communities by investing in the positive development of children through music, as well as to develop children as musical ambassadors among people of diverse cultures, backgrounds and beliefs.

Harmony Project Sooke will offer enriching music education to local youth, and provide musical instruments and instruction free of charge to those who might otherwise not be able to participate.

Students will enroll in classes appropriate to their progress, and those who demonstrate superior progress or require special attention will be offered private lessons.

Anne McDougall, concertmaster of the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra, will serve as head teacher for the project.

“We hope that these small ensembles will perform several concerts during the year,” McDougall said.

Funds raised at the Jan. 30 concert will help Harmony Project Sooke to begin recruiting students and purchase instruments. Admission is by donation. Concert includes works by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Bartok, and Elgar.

For more info, contact Lorna Bjorklund at 250-818-2748, or via email at: sookeharmonyproject@shaw.ca

 

 

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