Our first season seems to have flown by. Our final event for the year that involved our children was the barbecue in Port Hope on June 14. Family, friends, and supporters were all invited to celebrate with a picnic at Memorial Park, Port Hope. The children ate, sang, played musical games, and enjoyed some food. It was an opportunity for the SONG board, families, and other supporters to connect with each other and to see and hear the children in a fun and informal setting. Many thanks to Port Hope Rotary for providing and cooking hamburgers, hot dogs, providing salads, desserts and drinks—everything you need for a great picnic!

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Two of our financial supporters who were present mentioned that all you have to do is watch the children as they are singing to understand why we are providing this program. From the concerted effort of board members, volunteers, families, and supporters we have provided an atmosphere that encourages the creation of art. I believe that our work this year is the first step in offering children the skills to be able to make music for the rest of their lives. I imagine that a few of these children may even decide that music is a career possibility. That would be worth our effort.

 I believe that possibilities have opened up beyond acquiring musical skill and career possibilities.

 We have offered our SONG children an opportunity to experience music as an art: music as an experience of the beauty that life can offer, music as an experience that takes us away from daily cares to a larger view of the world, music that gives us a way to experience ourselves in a different context. When we make music we become composers, artists, philosophers– creators of beauty. We can come back to this place of beauty when we need refuge, when we are searching for ideas.

Our children understand the responsibility of community– that we are required to show up and do our part if we are members of community.  They have experienced the exhilaration of working hard for a goal and being rewarded with personal satisfaction and the feeling of being part of something greater than ourselves.

 I believe that our SONG children have been given a deep experience of love, passion, the goodness of life.

As I get older (and older, and older…) I have come to see beauty and grace in so many aspects of life. I am so grateful to Barb and Rodger Henderson for getting us started: for assembling a board made up of community-minded people who understand the value of the arts as a vehicle for social transformation, and are committed to making sure that this inspiring program continues. That is a beautiful thing.

Our executive director Shannon Linton creates beauty everywhere she goes: through her interaction with all members of the SONG board, the SONG families, and volunteers. Shannon creates liaisons in the most unlikely places (with Boston Pizza for example). Have you heard her sing? Once an idea is presented, she is off and away, creating ways to fund it, to make it as efficient and as effective as possible, always keeping the El Sistema values at the center of every decision. She is forward-thinking, passionate, generous, compassionate, gracious, direct, honest, and tireless. That is a beautiful thing.

And so as this year closes, through the constant positive change in our young SONG members, through hard work and play by so many people, with inspiration ablaze for our next season, I am so grateful.

There is much to be done, we have many exciting ideas for our next season.

– Posted by Marie