Sistema concert dedicated to fallen RCMP members
Ken MacLeod hopes anniversary concert will 'begin the healing' for Moncton
The Sistema music program will hold a free concert Monday night in Moncton dedicated to the three fallen RCMP officers and their families.
The project of the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra began five years ago with one centre, 50 children and one teacher in Moncton.
It has since expanded into Richibucto, Saint John and the Tobique First Nation and now has 500 students and 37 music teachers.
NBYO president and chief executive officer Ken MacLeod says the program is introducing music to many young people who would not have had the opportunity otherwise because of financial or geographical barriers.
"It's such a moving experience to see many children, who otherwise wouldn't have the chance, playing at a phenomenally high level … there's nothing like this in Canada."
Sistema is modelled on a program in Venezuela and offers free music lessons every day after school for three hours per day.
Conductor Anthony Delgado says it is very intense by North American standards.
He worried that children wouldn't want to take part but says the past five years have proved him wrong.
"Five years later we can say yes," Delgado said. "They like it and they are staying."
Delgado says he has seen many changes in the students over the years with many shy children becoming more open and confident.
"I remember a few cases, some of them go to school because they know after school comes Sistema so they're encouraged to go to school."
MacLeod says he knows of some families who have decided not the leave the province because they didn't want to miss out on the chance for their children to take part in the program.
"We're helping not just these kids, we want to help the community," MacLeod said.
Concert dedicated to RCMP
MacLeod says even though the concert Monday night is a celebration of Sistema's five year anniversary, it is also an opportunity to remember the fallen RCMP officers.
RCMP superintendent Marlene Snowman will take part in the concert, which is dedicated to Codiac RCMP and the families of Cst. Fabrice Gevaudan, Cst. Dave Ross and Cst. Douglas Larche.
"Our hope is that the concert in some small way can help begin the healing that's needed in our community," MacLeod said.
"When you see these children play and perform it's about hope and it's about opportunity and it's about the future so maybe in some small way we can let the children lead us tonight as we begin to come to grips with these awful circumstances of the last few weeks."