Messages from the Chair
June 23, 2020
I find it strange to think of June as ‘year-end,’ but for school-kids, that’s what it is. But ‘year-end’ implies a new year, too, one filled with challenge and promise. Most of our children look ahead to a fresh year with friends, with music, with new learning, albeit these days on-line. But a few of our students are moving on to completely new possibilities, beyond OrKidstra. Once again, all six OrKidstra grads are progressing to post-secondary education. This success has been enjoyed by every one of our graduates to date.
OrKidstra supports the social development of hundreds of children in Ottawa, most of whom face challenges, not only of living in under-served communities but, nowadays the added restrictions of living safely during a global pandemic. Many also live under the burden and threat of racism—our children represent more than sixty cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Our program brings positive action in all three areas: helping children and youth develop their longer-term potential; bringing joy and activity into their daily lives; and welcoming all kids into a ‘family’ that celebrates diversity. No more moving testament to our stand on this point could be found than in this letter to her students penned by OrKidstra Teaching Artist, Kathryn Patricia Cobbler.
I wonder, were you part of last week’s virtual celebration? (What an energetic mix of now and then!) Did you see and feel the joy? (It left me dancing in my living room!) Could you sense the pride in achievement of our 2020 Graduates? (I was blown away by their confidence!) That’s what you are supporting.
Yes, our children represent just a drop in the bucket of millions of kids facing challenges all around the world. But OrKidstra, with its practical and uplifting initiatives, stands alongside organizations which seek to better our world.
These are lofty thoughts for a small community program. But it’s through small steps that change happens. And your support for OrKidstra is what helps make positive change a reality: going beyond words to results.
If you have already donated to OrKidstra, I thank you from my heart. If you are still thinking about it, then please consider donating in June as part of the Great Canadian Giving Challenge. Your online contribution will give us the chance to win $20,000 AND will be matched up to a total of $25,000 thanks to the support of an anonymous OrKidstra donor. As OrKidstra student Mateo exclaimed at the Celebration, “That’s twenty-five grand, ladies and gentlemen!”
Our kids place huge trust in OrKidstra’s Teachers, Staff and Volunteers to help them overcome barriers to reach for success through music. With your help, we will honour this trust long into the future.
Wishing you and yours joy, good health and success,
Claire E. Marshall
Board Chair for OrKidstra
P.S. if you missed last week’s virtual celebration, or want to see it again, it’s available on YouTube by clicking here!
June 3, 2020
Although I’m in lock-down like everyone reading this note, when I look out the window or go for a daily walk, I see spring bursting out all around: crabapples, tulips, Japanese cherries and lilacs. Just like those spring flowers, OrKidstra is bursting with energy. Our actual doors may be temporarily closed due to COVID-19 but, thanks to the inspiring creativity of Teaching Artists and Staff, music and joy now come into the homes of our kids via our website, Zoom and YouTube: all part of OrKidstra @ Home.
Did you know that 85% of our after-school kids have registered for online instrumental classes and that they will continue all summer and into the fall to learn French horn, strings, and all the other wonderful instruments they cherish? Did you know our KiddlyWinks program, now on video, is introducing music to very young children who live well outside the reach of our Centretown and Vanier hubs?
And did you know that we have maintained a full complement of Staff and Teaching Artists? It’s through their continuing dedication, and your continued support, that we can fulfill our mission: to empower kids and build community through the universal language of music. Our watchwords of love, courage and excellence really are proving their worth.
My personal and heartfelt thanks go to the many supporters who continue to send donations our way. Your contributions keep us going, growing and innovating. And if you have been wondering whether we need funds at this stage the answer is Yes, Please! Take up the Great Canadian Giving Challenge in June and make an online donation at orkidstra.ca. You can help fill our students’ lives with music this summer and beyond. We even have an extraordinarily generous donor who is putting up $25,000 as a matching challenge this month, making your gift all the more valuable.
None of us knows quite what the future will look like, but for sure at OrKidstra it will be filled with music and laughter, hard work and satisfaction, growth and success—just as before. Our kids come from such diverse backgrounds. Each one of them trusts in OrKidstra’s welcoming support to help them discover their potential. With every member of the team in place, and with your help, we will honour that trust, whatever lies ahead.
Wishing you and yours good health and happiness,
Claire E. Marshall
Board Chair for OrKidstra
P.S. It’s very easy to make a secure donation online: just click here for the link. Thank you again for your support!