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:

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

How Music Moves Us


The first time I saw SONG perform, I was brought to tears by the beautiful young voices singing wholeheartedly together. That was three years ago, when SONG confidently took the stage at the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope, Ontario for an evening of stories in benefit of local outreach organization Green Wood Coalition

We all know the power of music to conjure up images and feelings. Music evokes emotions—and how and why continues to fascinate us.

At SONG, we see how singing encourages children to express their emotions and how it helps develop their ability to communicate. Among so many benefits, physically singing develops lip and tongue movement, and of course, memory. Emotionally, music can help develop empathy, understanding, and security for connecting to creativity. Socially, kids build confidence, self-esteem and friendships in group music-making.

That’s the beauty of singing collectively from a young age.

Thanks to the ongoing support from Sing Canada Harmony , SONG is able to continue providing children ages 6-13 in Northumberland County with the opportunity to engage in the joy of group ensemble singing. We are so grateful for SCH’s commitment to “enriching lives in every generation and community through the lifelong benefits of singing.” For the five years that SONG children have been singing their hearts out, Sing Canada Harmony has been there with a generous gift that is made possible by donations to SCH. 

Quite simply, music moves and frees us.  It’s happened throughout the ages.

For SONG’s 5th Annual Spring Concert on Saturday, May 26, 2018, entitled Kids 4 Kids, our choirs are rehearsing a beautiful song that became a worldwide hit. Looking at the theme of freedom and what that means, and how it affects us all, SONG will sing the Canadian Young Artists for Haiti cover of “Wavin’ Flag” by k’naan.  Cue the tears. 

 Save the date:  SONGs 5th Annual Spring Concert: Kids 4 Kids on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 3:00pm at Trinity United Church in Cobourg, ON.

By SONG Development Coordinator, Elizabeth Palermo

Artists in the Classroom


In 2006, three friends came together to perform a one-time concert.  But that one time concert eventually propelled Cobourg natives, Sue Passmore and Kerri Ough (both former members of La Jeunesse Girls’ choir under the direction of Marie Anderson), and their university friend Caroline Brooks, into Canadian music stardom as the trio, “The Good Lovelies”.

With four studio albums, a pair of EP’s, a live album, and a Christmas album behind them, The Good Lovelies have become an established part of the Canadian music scene.  In March 2018, they will be continuing to take their Canadian sound to the world with a tour in Australia.

But just as generous as The Good Lovelies are with their music, they are also generous with their time.  Sue Passmore excitedly accepted an invitation from SONG Artistic Director, Marie Anderson, to come into the classroom and work with students on a song-writing project.  Sue and the SONG kids explored thoughts about the world and how we can help each other make a better world.

There were many ideas shared, but one notable moment came when a SONG student made the observation of, “how awesome I really am!”  All of the ideas being generated this winter and all the creative activities of our upcoming annual workshop are set to culminate in the spring concert on Saturday, May 26th…a concert appropriately entitled “Kids-4-Kids”.