Violinist Nicola Benedetti visits music program for at-risk children in Toronto
Toronto, Ontario – October 1, 2018 – World-renowned violinist Nicole Benedetti visited Sistema Toronto students on Friday, September 28. The visit, organized in partnership with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, inspired students to continue working in their music classes and to develop the skills they need to succeed in all areas of life.
Sistema Toronto is an after-school social development program that provides daily free music and social education to 275 at-risk children in neighbourhoods with some of Toronto’s highest child poverty rates – Parkdale, Jane-Finch, and East Scarborough.
Sistema Toronto classes started for the 2018-19 school year on September 11, just three weeks after receiving news that funding approved in May by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport had been rescinded. The loss of funding means that Sistema Toronto will support fewer families living in poverty, leaving 60 students on the waiting list that now have little hope of joining the program this year. The funding cut also means that Sistema Toronto teachers started the school year with oversized classes and without much-needed teaching resources.
Ms. Benedetti’s visit to Sistema Toronto motivated students, teachers and staff, demonstrating the opportunities that become available when children have access to music education and community support.
Christie Gray, Executive Director, Sistema Toronto:
“We are so grateful to Nicola Benedetti and the TSO for taking the time to visit our community. Sistema Toronto students work incredibly hard to reach their potential as musicians and as people. We provide a community of support for our students and demonstrate that we care about their futures. Ms. Benedetti’s visit showed them what they can achieve with the perseverance, creativity, and grit they develop at Sistema Toronto.”
Nicola Benedetti, violinist:
‘I am so looking forward to working with young people in Sistema Toronto. Learning an instrument is hard but it can also be really fun, offer opportunities to make lifelong friends and helps young people to learn to collaborate. I will be working to help improve their playing technique, freedom of expression and command of their instrument so that each element combines individually, and within an ensemble, to create the fullest sound possible.’