British Columbia

Capilano University shuts down popular community music program

Capilano University says it's Community Music School courses will end this fall — news that upsets parents and students of the program.

University says the cut will allow it to focus on its credit programs instead

A promotional video from Capilano University shows its popular community music school, which has been cancelled. (YouTube)

An extremely popular music program that's been around for decades in North Vancouver, B.C., is being cancelled.

Capilano University says its Community Music School courses will end this fall — news that has upset parents and students of the program.

The program has been around for 35 years. It offers courses to people of all ages, but primarily focuses on young children.

"I feel kind of sad because I love it," said six-year-old Simona Fournier, who has been taking music lessons with the program for three years. 

Simona and Guy Fournier say they're upset about the closure of Capilano University's community music program. (CBC)

"I like it because we can do lots of fun songs and it sounds really good." 

​Her father, Guy Fournier, is also shocked by the news. He and his wife pay $120 per semester for their daughter to take music courses every Saturday. Their plan was to also register their two-year-old son in the fall.

"[The children] are very well tempered because of music. They have an outlet to express themselves that they can put out whatever it is that's going on in their little heads."

Focusing on credit programs

The university says the program breaks even, but it's time for it to focus on its credit courses instead.

"When resources are tight ... we have to focus on what we do well — things that really prepare students with credentials to go out and be successful," said Capilano University president Kris Bulcroft. 

Bulcroft says there are plenty of music providers in Metro Vancouver, so the university isn't limiting its students' access to quality education by cutting the program.

She also said parents having a hard time finding a private teacher for their child should contact the school and it will help them get in touch with one.

Unique program

But music teacher Justin O'Donohue says the program is unique and tailored to each student's development.

"We have been around for 35 years. That's a lot of time to develop top-tier programming," he said. "We have fantastic instructors, all of whom are experts in their field."

He adds the program doesn't affect the university's credit-based courses and should be allowed to stay.

"Our program is really healthy. We have lots of registrants," he said. "It's very popular — tons of repeat clients."

As for the Fournier family, it's hoping the university will reverse its decision.

With files from Kiran Dhillon