Forget about textbooks and recess. The school day looked a little different for a group of lucky students in downtown Toronto as City and Colour performed a surprise concert.
The performances are happening more often across Canada because of a new program called MusiCounts Band Aid.
“You know the first time that I ever sang in front of anyone was in a school gymnasium,” Dallas Green a.k.a City and Colour told CityNews. “So I am very comfortable playing in a place like this.”
Students at Church Street Public School knew they would be performing a special rendition of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi,’ but what they didn’t know is that they were going to be performing it in front of the Juno-Award winning artist.
“Meeting Dallas Green and getting a high-five was the best part of the day,” a student told CityNews. “Hearing him sing was really cool,” another student added.
The instruments the students were using were bought through a $10,000 instrument grant from the MusiCounts Band Aid Program. The non-profit charity helps school music programs across the country.
“This past year, we donated $725,000 worth of instruments across the country to 80 schools and in the last 21 years, we have donated over $11 million worth of instruments to over 1000 schools.” said Kristy Fletcher, MusiCounts Executive Director.
While the performance was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the kids, the instruments will have a lifelong impact.
“Music has an incredible impact on kids. We’ve seen it so much research over decades but really, when you go in a school, you can see how music creates this incredible cultural bridge. So for a school like Church Street Junior Public School, where there is a lot of languages and a lot of new Canadians, it’s a great way to bridge those cultural gaps.” added Fletcher.
Green knows first-hand how music and instruments can impact a child’s life.
“I started playing guitar when I was 8 years old. My parents got me lessons for something to do and I didn’t know that it would take hold of me so passionately but it did and then playing all through high schools and having people who believed in me and showed interest in these songs I write, it’s why I am standing here today.”
Dallas is donating $1 from the sale of each purchase of his new album “Guide Me Back Home” to MusiCounts.