This summer 14 students from the Dixon Hall Music School and the University Settlement House Music School attended either the junior (grades 3-8) or senior (grades 8-12) music camp at the National Music Camp of Canada on Lake Couchiching. We visited the NMC at the end of the junior camp week to see the students rehearsing the their production of Matilda, attend the Faculty and Music Staff concert and have dinner with them under the stars of a glorious Friday night. Many thanks to Camp Director, Bruce Nashman, Music Director Mike Ferguson, chef Roch Beaudry and all the faculty and staff for their warm welcome. It's such a pleasure to see both students and faculty perform with such enthusiasm and joy. Our campers are only a small part of the camp which caters to kids from across Canada pursuing their interest in music, making new friends from very different backgrounds and just enjoying camp fun that includes swimming, water-skiing, canoeing, wall climbing, zip-lining, soccer and basketball.
Once again in July students from the Dixon Hall Music School enjoyed one of two weeks at overnight camp at Hart House Farm. This year we had a full capacity of 30 students who enjoyed both camp life and music lessons under the dedicated direction of Bob McKitrick. Enjoy these scenes from camp and you'll understand why it's such a special and rewarding time for these kids.
Minstrel Foundation made it possible for The Dixon Hall Music School ("DHMS") to send 52 kids to 4 different camps during March Break.
For the ninth year, Bob McKitrick, Dixon Hall's Music Director took 14 kids to Hart House Farm in Caledon for a 6 day music and arts overnight camp. Through fresh air, expert coaching, support and the freedom to explore the quiet of early spring, participants were able to advance their music skills and make new friends.
For the second year DHMS in partnership with Girls Rock Camps held a one week camp at the Ada Slaight Studios where girls aged 8-16 were able to pick up guitars, play the drums and form bands. Girls Rock Camps with over 80 camps globally has the objective of helping girls build self-esteem and learn collaboration and leadership skills and find their voices through unique programming that combines music education and performance with positive role models and empowerment. Participants form bands, write an original song, record, and perform live!
A shoebox synth building workshop was held for 5 days at the DHMS Carlton St. facility for youth aged 11-14. This is a day camp where students learn the basics of electronics, building their own homemade synthesizers from a shoebox, a circuit board, and wires! Students learn about the history of synthesizing in music and get to experiment with the interesting and unusual sounds made from a DIY (do-it-yourself) synthesizer.
A number of students from the DHMS went to any one of 17 Harbourfront Centre March break camps that covered art, dance, theatre, games and design.
Photos from Girls Rock Camp
Photos from HART HOUSE MARCH BREAK Camp
This year we dropped in on The National Music Camp on the last afternoon and evening of camp when campers and faculty come together to perform. What fun! What Joy! And what a good time! The National Music Camp is hosted for 2 weeks near the end of each summer by Camp Wahanowin on the shores of Lake Couchiching near Orillia. The Minstrel Foundation sends a number of kids from our inner city music programs to the NMC each year thanks to our wonderful supporters and also assists young musicians to attend camp through the Matthew Ferguson Memorial Staff Scholarship Fund. The camp combines the best of teaching faculty, camp counsellors and recreational activity and offers a unique and very special experience for our campers.
Music By The Lake is a co-operative venture of the Toronto District School Board and Camp Wahanowin, providing an eight day overnight music camp with band, string, and choral programs at Camp Wahanowin on the shores of Lake Couchiching in the Orillia area. To attend, students must be in grade 6, 7, or 8 in a TDSB school and instrumental students must be enrolled in their school music band or string program. The Minstrel Foundation paid the cost of $750 for each of 12 TDSB students who needed our financial support to attend.
For the eighth year, the Minstrel Foundation has made it possible for Dixon Hall Music School students to escape the city for March break and engage in creative and exhilarating activities at Hart House Farm. Through fresh air, expert coaching, support and the freedom to explore the quiet of early spring, these kids had a week they won't soon forget. The thirteen youths that went to camp threw themselves into ensemble and solo music, ear training, lyric writing and arranging with teacher Aleks Gerun . As if that wasn’t enough , the young women in the group had the opportunity to take flying lessons at the Brampton Air Club and actually fly a plane!
March Break was a busy time for the students of Dixon Hall Music School. From March 14-18 the Minstrel Foundation sponsored 16 girls to attend Girls Rock Camp, the 5th year of operations for this camp in Toronto and, thanks to the Dixon Hall Music School, its first year in the Regent Park neighborhood. The Girls Rock Camp Toronto is affiliated with an international coalition of camps across Canada, the U.S. and Europe whose shared mission is to empower girls and women using the tools of music education to foster self-esteem and confidence. The week was jam-packed with activities from instrument and band instruction to silk screening band shirts to a recording session and concert! This first collaboration between Dixon Hall Music School and Girls Rock Toronto was a great success. Thanks to all our donors, we can make camps like this available to students who otherwise would not be able to afford the tuition.
Every Christmas students from the Dixon Hall Music School under the direction of Bob McKitrick are invited to attend the Minstrel Foundation's Heather Bryant Christmas Music Camp at Hart House Farm. This past Christmas 13 students spent a week away from the city taking their music to new levels, bonding with old friends and making new friends.
We are pleased to announce a new initiative between Minstrel Foundation and the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. Beginning in January, 2016, we will provide free voice lessons to inner-city youth who are thirteen and older and whose voices have changed. Lessons will be at the Faculty of Music U of T campus. The program with begin with three students and increase in September 2016 to 7 students and at that time will be offered to younger students. There will also be a special project of a year’s training for one advanced student. Any transportation costs incurred by the students travelling to their lessons will be paid by the Foundation.
We are pleased to announce that a new scholarship in the amount of $20,000 has been established by Barbara Callander in the memory of her mother, Lois Callander, a former piano teacher who passed away last year. The scholarship will be available to talented students to study piano at the advanced level. We always enjoyed seeing Lois at our events each year and because of Barbara’s generosity, Lois’s presence will be felt for years to come.
Hundreds of children have benefitted from the generosity of the Slaight family through their support of the Minstrel Foundation. This is to be continued in a donation of $80,000 per year for the next five years. Our thanks to the family foundation and particularly to Ms. Ada Slaight who has been a Minstrel Foundation benefactor since our inception. The money will go to send youngsters to summer and March Break camps, where music and fun go hand in hand and where it’s easy to see how important a week in the country still is.