Frequently Asked Questions – OrKidstra @ Home

Special information relating to COVID 19:

Please scroll down or click here for more Frequently Asked Questions about OrKidstra.

  1. Are classes continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic? The health and safety of our OrKidstra family continues to be our priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on recommendations from the Government of Ontario, the Ministry of Education, OrKidstra’s Board of Directors and consultations with the entire OrKidstra family, OrKidstra has canceled all in-person, location-based programming and has shifted its programming online with OrKidstra @ Home. This new program is an engaging and multi-layered virtual learning strategy bringing music education home for OrKidstra’s current students and beyond! OrKidstra @ Home began on March 24, 2020, and continues this fall semester starting on October 13, 2020. OrKidstra is grateful for the community’s continued support during this challenging time. Learn more at

    OrKidstra @ Home:
    OrKidstra after school students have the opportunity to participate virtually in social development through music with OrKidstra @ Home. Learn more in this video!
    – OrKidstra @ Home: Summer Edition kept kids engaged over the summer months through a virtual six-week “summer camp” featuring music education and fun social development activities.
    – OrKidstra @ Home
    includes free access to individual and group online lessons led by professional Teaching Artists, practice challenges, virtual hangouts, online social activities, peer mentorship, sing/play-along videos and live stream performances. Click here to learn more.
  2. Are all your staff and teachers still working during the COVID-19 shutdown? Keeping our Teaching Artists engaged is vital to the success of the organization. All Teaching Artists have the opportunity to continue to work with OrKidstra as music educators through online lessons, by creating new resources for students, with live stream performances, virtual workshops etc. The OrKidstra team, led by CEO & Artistic Director Tina Fedeski, MSM, continues to work remotely and the office is currently closed to the public: please contact staff through the information available here.
  3. Do you have any concerts coming up soon? Due to COVID-19, and consequent venue shutdowns, OrKidstra does not have any location-based concerts scheduled, but we’re very excited to offer you a virtual celebration this holiday season: join us for “OrKidstra’s Virtual Winter Celebration!” on Friday, December 18, 2020, at 5:30 PM (EST).
  4. Will COVID-19 affect plans for expansion? In the fall of 2018, OrKidstra released Crescendo: Strategy 2032, our strategic plan. Plans to expand and launch a third hub in a new under-served area of Ottawa have been potentially delayed due to the current situation, but we are still committed to extending our reach as soon as we are able. We invite you to join in the journey as OrKidstra and its students create an exciting future through the power of music by joining our mailing list.
  5. Does COVID-19 impact your funding? The community’s support continues to be vital as OrKidstra finds new ways to help kids from under-served communities connect and reach for success through music. During this challenging time, OrKidstra is also exploring additional funding options including relief programs offered by the Government of Canada. If you would like to contribute to OrKidstra’s ongoing mission to empower kids and build community through music, we would encourage you to do so through our secure online donation platform powered by CanadaHelps. Click here to make a tax-receiptable donation to OrKidstra.

    General FAQs – OrKidstra
  6. Is OrKidstra a charity? Yes, our charitable number is: 83246 7153 RR0001. Tina Fedeski, Margaret Tobolowska and Gary McMillen founded OrKidstra in 2007.
  7. What is OrKidstra’s mission, vision and mandate? OrKidstra’s mission is to empower kids and build community through the universal language of music. We do this by providing children from low-income families with free instruments and music lessons, which gives them the chance to learn important life skills through playing and singing together. Our vision is a future where all children and youth have the opportunity to discover their voice and build their potential through music. Our mandate is to give children from under-served communities the opportunity to learn and make music together, and the chance to benefit from the individual skills and community values inherent in music-making.
  8. Do all the children learn for free? About 96% of families do not pay. The remainder pay on a voluntary basis and contribute what they can.
  9. How many students do you have? Thanks to your ongoing support, OrKidstra continues to help almost 625 local children and youth (400 in-school (funded by OCDSB) and 225 after-school students) from under-served communities reach for success through music. Many of OrKidstra’s students are new Canadians.
  10. How many teachers do you have? As of April 2020, we had over 30 teachers (Teaching Artists) under contract, and 10 student mentors. OrKidstra is always interested in meeting new individuals interested in music education.
  11. Do you pay your teachers? Yes. Excellent, professional teachers (Teaching Artists) are fundamental to our success. We have a pay scale that varies according to experience: from apprentices and teaching assistants, to our top teachers.
  12. Is OrKidstra part of a pan-Canadian organization? There are some 20 Sistema-inspired programs across Canada
    (OrKidstra was the first) and although we are in touch with each other, each is independent.
  13. What are OrKidstra’s administrative costs? About 75% of our budget goes to programming; another 13% covers administration (Office support, rent etc.); about 12% goes towards development. The most meaningful measure of our effectiveness lies in the results achieved by our children.
  14. Where are classes normally held? Classes are normally** held at OrKidstra’s Centretown Hub (Bronson Centre) four days a week. We opened a second after-school Hub in fall 2016 in Vanier/Overbrook (now at Rideau Community HUB) and we have classes there twice a week. We also have a Community Partner (Vanier Social Pediatric Hub housed at the Vanier Community Service Centre) which provides the KidSingers/KiddlyWinks program after-school one day per week. We have nine KiddlyWinks (ages 5-8) in-school programs in priority areas, which are paid for by school boards (OCDSB & CEPEO). After and in-school programming follows the school year (September to June). OrKidstra’s Anne Taylor Summer Program (CAMP OrKidstra) offers select programming to students during the summer. **Please see COVID-19 update.
  15. What areas of Ottawa do you serve? We serve kids from four priority neighbourhoods: Centretown (Centretown and Centretown West), Lowertown, Vanier (Vanier North and South) as well as Overbrook/Carson Grove-Carson Meadows with our in-school and after-school programming.
  16. Can any child register for classes? OrKidstra is an inclusive program, but space for registered classes is limited and is intended primarily for those who otherwise could not afford music education and live in the under-served areas in which OrKidstra operates. Learn more on our website at
  17. How do you measure the success of your program? OrKidstra quantifies the success of programs by looking at the outcomes for youth empowerment and outcomes for sustainable community building and growth. This data feeds into the short and long-term goals of our logic model. OrKidstra also continues to measure the continued impact of the program on its graduates, 100% of whom have completed high school and are pursuing post-secondary education.
  18. Is OrKidstra supported by government? We receive some grant monies (23%) from the government (City of Ottawa, Ontario Arts Council and Trillium Foundation), but the bulk of our revenues come from individual donors (48%), corporations (6%) and other charities and private foundations (23%).
  19. Do you partner with other organizations? Yes, we have a wide range of partners including the Ottawa Food Bank, the NAC, Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, Baytek, YouthREX and Rogers tv Ottawa just to name a few.
  20. Can I volunteer? We welcome volunteers and have a range of regular or ad hoc opportunities to offer. All volunteers must obtain a police record check valid for the vulnerable sector. To enquire about volunteering opportunities, please contact Program and event volunteers are taking a break during COVID-19, but we look forward to welcoming new and returning volunteers back when location-based programming resumes.
  21. How can I donate? You can securely donate online through ( or you can write a cheque to OrKidstra mailed to 211 Bronson Ave., Studios 204 & 210, Ottawa, ON  K1R 6H5. Please email or call 613.233.0166 if you have further questions. Thank you!
  22. How can I stay in contact with OrKidstra? The best way to connect with OrKidstra is by joining our mailing list here: You can also follow us on social media: we are @orkidstra on all platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc.)


Updated December 2, 2020