OrKidstra’s “10 Stories of Possibility” – Shan

The OrKidstra logo with the word "Possibility" underneath

A photo of a family consisting of a father and two younger children smiling at the camera. The father is named Melake and two children are Shan and Sham.

 (From left to right) Shan, with her father Melake and her little brother Sham. Photo by Rebecca Russell

In honour of our 10th Anniversary year and our 10 Leading Notes, we’d like to share with you the first of 10 very special stories; 10 stories that illustrate the wonderful possibilities that can happen when kids experience the joys and challenges of making music at OrKidstra!

Shan, 11, started coming to OrKidstra in 2014 with her little brother Sham. Shan is involved in both KidSingers (choral program) and plays the cello with KidStringers in OrKidstra. In her own words…

“I was born in Eritrea [a country on the horn of Africa]. When I was two, we escaped to Sudan on foot because there was a lot of violence and fighting in Eritrea and it wasn’t safe anymore. My mom wanted a better future for me. My Dad’s Uncle (I call him Grandpa) helped my mom, my dad, my little brother and me come to Canada in October 2011 when I was six. We speak the language Bilen at home and before I came to Canada, I didn’t speak any English except for knowing a few words like ‘crayon’ or ‘paper.’ It was a big transition coming here, but I really like being in Ottawa now.”

Shan’s father Melake says “I didn’t really know what OrKidstra was at first, but when I came to the Bronson Centre [Centretown Hub] I saw the kids performing music and I was very inspired by that. Shan really likes it at OrKidstra. She doesn’t want to spend any time away from the program! She’s a little bit shy sometimes, but she loves the music and that helps her make friends here. OrKidstra is really good for my family and for the community.”

Shan feels very at home at OrKidstra. She says “I can really be myself at OrKidstra. Here, I can have fun and be with my friends, but at the same time, I am learning. OrKidstra makes learning music fun! I learn many life skills at OrKidstra: I’ve learned to be enthusiastic, to be caring and to work well as part of a team. I learn both music and life lessons from my teachers like Mr. Gareth. I love playing the cello and music really helps me express my feelings. Whenever I get angry or frustrated I pull out my cello and I play all my emotions! OrKidstra is my home away from home.”

Shan and her family are very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of OrKidstra… “I want to say thank you, everyone, who helps support OrKidstra,” says Shan. “You have really made a difference in my life. By supporting OrKidstra, you are helping me. When I grow up, I would like to be a biochemist; I also want to continue being a musician for the rest of my life. OrKidstra is the best part of my day and the place that I can really be myself. Thank you!” Shan’s father Melake says, “The program will help my children go further in their lives. Thank you very much for this opportunity.” – Shan, OrKidstra student, age 11 – KidStringers (cello) and KidSingers and her father Melake