Benefit Concert Launches Bakerview Music Academy For Disadvantaged Kids

Music soothes the soul and stirs something deep inside of us. It triggers a range of emotions for both the hearer and those who play. Distinguished Canadian composer Stephen Chatman has stated it this way, “I cannot image a world without music, and I think a lot of people feel this way.”

As Deputy Mayor, my wife and I recently had the privilege of attending a benefit concert to launch the Bakerview Music Academy. The evening featured Calvin Dyck, Lorin Friesen, Stan Gubiotti, Mel Bowker, Johannes Weber, Paul Williamson and the Sweeney Singers.

The Bakerview Music Academy’s vision is to offer free after school music instruction to disadvantaged youth in Abbotsford, who are economically challenged, in order to encourage them to improve their academic, artistic and social skills, through the inspirational power of music and to enhance community life through the expression of music.

The Academy’s vision is patterned after Venezuela’s very successful El Sistema, a tested model of how a music program can both create great musicians and dramatically change the life trajectory of hundreds of thousands of a nation’s neediest children. Among its graduates, El Sistema Venezuela has nurtured international musicians such as Edicson Ruiz and Gustavo Dudamel and the world-renowned Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra.

The goal for the first year is to enroll 40 students, commencing instruction in September, 2013. The program will offer group lessons in piano, violin and cello and all students will participate in choir. The collaborative setting is conducive to forming friendships; creating team work, learning self-discipline and developing a life-long love of music, not to mention, the transformational life change that will occur in the lives of these students.

The Academy’s first administrator and accomplished pianist is Mr. Graham Yates. The newly formed Society will be seeking funds from private donors in order that music lessons can be provided free of charge. Meanwhile, the Society has also filed an application for charitable status, which is pending.

Sponsoring a student is one of the ways to support what is truly a remarkable undertaking. Another need is to build a strong team of dedicated volunteers. If you have a heart for this program and you are able to help, please contact Mrs.Holda Fast Redekopp,, Chair, Bakerview Music Academy for additional information.