“All My Old Lovers” raises $10,000 for SONG

On June 9th, Safe Harbour closed out the fifth season of SONG with their annual fundraising concert. This year’s tongue-in-cheek theme was “All My Old Lovers,” and the concert delved into the hilarity, heartbreak and hysteria inspired by memories of past loves.

This year’s concert was Safe Harbour’s most successful fundraiser to date! Thanks to the help of many people and the generosity of our audience and donors, we raised $10,000 for SONG.

Enormous thanks must go to the following people who helped make the concert such a success:


  • Our house band consisting of George Lee, Jeff Pudwell, and P.J. LeConte shared their time and considerable talents on stage
  • Jesse Hagedorn volunteered to run our lighting and sound boards, as he has done for us for several years without hesitation
  • Edie Stewart was our intrepid Stage Manager, without whom the concert could not have run
  • Lynn Liddell, a weekly SONG classroom volunteer, was an outstanding emcee for the event
  • Community members like Jennifer Darrell and Donna Cole, who helped sell raffle tickets and promote the concert around town


We must thank our generous sponsors once more for their support and commitment to the arts in our community. Please be sure to thank Alison Lester at Irvine Lester and Low Lawyers Practicing in Association, Trenholm Parker, Sales Representative at Re/Max Lakeshore Realty Inc., and major concert donors Trish Dryden and Lee Vittetow when you see them out and about this summer.

Special Donor

Alice Vander Vennen made an incredible donation to our event. Cobourg is extremely fortunate to be able to boast this internationally acclaimed artist as a resident, and she generously created an original mixed-media piece which was raffled off at the concert to raise funds for SONG.

All of us in Safe Harbour wish to say thank you once more to everyone who attended the concert, everyone who helped in some way, and everyone who continues to support SONG.

2014-2015 SH photoHave a wonderful summer!


Music in your Medium

Music In Your Medium is an online art auction to raise funds for Sounds of the Next Generation (SONG), a free after school music program for at-risk children and youth in Northumberland County.

We are looking for local artists who would be willing to donate an original piece of art in a medium of their choice.  The artwork can be from an existing catalogue or curate specifically for this campaign.  Artists will receive a charitable gift receipt for their contribution.

Music In Your Medium brings artists of all backgrounds together to celebrate art, culture and inclusivity for the month of August. The online exhibit will go live on Wednesday, August 1st and conclude on Saturday, August 25th in conjunction with the Town of Cobourg’s Art Walk.

To register your interest please complete the attached form and email it to admin@songprogram.org.

About Music In Your Medium

Music In Your Medium is an art auction consisting of pieces of work that interpret the theme of music in a medium chosen by the artist.  Whether it’s a painted violin, a sculpture, framed song lyrics or oil on canvas the submission is open for interpretation by the artist.  Submissions will be auctioned off through an online exhibit.  All proceeds will support SONG’s after school music program.

About Sounds of the Next Generations (SONG)

Sounds of the Next Generation is Northumberland County’s only free, socially inclusive, afterschool music education program for under-served children and youth. Inspired by the worldwide model El Sistema, SONG is celebrating its 5th year of promoting social development through musical excellence by offering exceptional choral and orchestral music education to every child in Northumberland County, free of barriers and cost.  For more information visit www.songprogram.org.

Born to be wild?

PLEASE NOTE:  The offer contained in this post is for SONG families only; interested members of the public will need to purchase a regular admission through normal means.

_country wild

In its five years of operation, the SONG program has been blessed with so many community partners who generously make offers to provide musical experiences for our kids.  From singing “O Canada” at sporting events and then having access to reduced or free tickets to enjoy the game, to free tickets for local choral and orchestral concerts, we are surrounded by a spirit of giving in our Northumberland Communities.

Once again this year, the Country Wild Music Festival in Cobourg is offering each SONG child a free day pass and a matching pass for one parent.  Experiencing all styles and genres of music helps fuel the creativity of every child.  From classical to country, from pop to rap, each genre shows its own ingenuity and beauty through musical forms.

We are so appreciative for our community partners that make these events and opportunities possible to our kids and their families.  Thank you!

NOTE TO SONG PARENTS:  please reply to the email sent to you to register your interest by Friday, May 25th.



The Giving of Art

Vander Vennen actual 1

The art of giving and the giving of art become one through the kind generosity of Cobourg artist Alice Vander Vennen.  Alice has been working with SONG students in class this spring to help complete an art project featuring personal totems that will be used in our spring “Kids 4 Kids” concert.

In addition to that gift of time and creativity, Alice has also created a unique, one-of-a-kind mixed media art piece that she has donated to SONG to use in an exclusive raffle for the annual Safe Harbour Fundraiser (June 9th at Victoria Hall).

Entitled, “Over the hills”, Alice describes the piece in this way:
“This piece starts with the elegant beauty of a centuries-old violin. It had played its last song, but now placed in an art piece, the beauty continues. I juxtaposed this violin over a collaged embroidery that represents Northumberland’s hills and all the majesty of our surrounding landscape. The background is a collage of a landscape embroidery, acrylic on canvas, African mudcloth, and of new fabrics found just for this piece. I wanted to give the feeling of a visual song, where looking at the piece, one can almost hear the music over the hills. Juxtaposed with this background is a photo of trees reflected in snow, taken in winter time in the Northumberland forest which was then transferred onto canvas and painted. In the same way that the image is reflected, so is the song of the violin echoed over the hills. The piece is mounted in a museum-quality, shadow box frame under UV-protected, anti-glare, museum glass, and is preserved with a clear acrylic coating of UV-resistant gloss to protect against UV light.”

This exclusive raffle has been been limited to 100 tickets at $25 each.  The piece will be on display in the window of Ten Thousand Villages in downtown Cobourg until the June 9th fundraiser.  Tickets can be purchased from the store as well or by contacting the SONG program administrator at:  admin@songprogram.org

Kids 4 Kids – Spring Concert


Spring is officially here, and so is SONG’s 5th Annual Spring Concert!

Spring brings about the colour yellow with the warm sunshine, forsythias and daffodils, and symbolizes happiness and empowerment—the very themes the children of SONG have been exploring for their spring concert Kids 4 Kids on Saturday May 26th at 3:00 p.m. at Trinity United Church. 

For this concert, SONG has invited a number of artists to contribute, including Susan Passmore (one of the Good Lovelies, pictured above) who co-wrote a song with the children.  Using words and pieces of melody written by SONG kids, Passmore has crafted a beautiful piece which will be sung by all SONG members. 

Other concert highlights include:  SONG members singing “The Freedom Tree,” which is about the tree outside of the little apartment where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis in WWII.  Songwriters Dr. Roselyn Schwartz, composer and conductor of the Kingston Jewish Chorus, and holocaust survivor Joche Katan will be in attendance.

Also, Cobourg’s own visual artist Alice Vandervennen has organized an art project based on the themes of freedom, family, relationship and community, which will be on display. And SONG has also been developing its first string-quartet!  Students are learning chamber music—classical music composed for three or four players—fittingly known as “the music of friends.”  Pop music by K’naan and Michael Jackson round out what promises to be an inspiring and uplifting concert.

The doors for Kids 4 Kids will open at 2:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 3:00 p.m.  Tickets are $5 at Ten Thousand Villages in Cobourg, Furby House Books in Port Hope, and also at the door.

​We look forward to seeing you there!​


A Legacy of Music


Last Saturday, the music world received notice that Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu, the founder of the El Sistema music model, passed away at age 78.  Forty-three years ago, this Venezuelan government economist began a socially inclusive musical education program for some of the poorest children in his country.  The El Sistema program has been replicated in countries around the world and is the model upon which the SONG program is based. 

A month earlier, in February, we received a notice from El Sistema in Venezuela that they had just accepted their 900,000th student into the program since the program’s inception in 1975.  Valentina Carrero, a nine year old Venezuelan girl, has now been learning music for a month, along with hundreds of thousands of children around the world thanks to Maestro Abreu’s vision. 

The letter from Sistema Venezuela concluded with these words, “Without a doubt, there still are many children like Valentina that need to access musical education, no matter their social background, race, religion or disability.  Which is why we still are very committed to continue expanding our musical miracle beyond borders, by emphasizing one of our main principles:  social inclusion.” 

The SONG program of Northumberland is also building its own legacy.  Five years in, we have seen about 250 children enter the program.  They have sung with passion, played bucket drums with zeal, and learned stringed instruments with growing confidence.  Our local legacy joins with that of Maestro Abreu as we touch lives through the transformative power of music. 

Help us celebrate five years of SONG on Saturday, May 26th at Trinity United Church in Cobourg (3:00pm) for our concert entitled, “Kids 4 Kids”. 

          Written by Derrick Cunningham , SONG Administrative Assistant