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Vibrant Communities In Focus
Image Credit: Patti Gower
[Regent Park School of Music] Walk by the corner of Queen and River Streets in downtown Toronto and you might be lucky enough to hear a choir of children singing, or a young violinist, a pianist, or a cellist warming up for a rehearsal. The Regent Park School of Music was established in 1999 with just twenty students. An Ontario Trillium Foundation grant bought instruments and paid for the after-school music lessons. Today, through continued financial and moral support, there are more than two hundred students, and the latest grant is helping to pay for renovations and more music lessons. The school’s general manager, Edlyn Yu Wang, says some children arrive ready for a little fun, while others are quite serious, and see their lessons and making music as a step toward future success in life. “I watch these children work so hard at practice and in recitals, and giving concerts. One parent wasn’t very encouraging at first and then she watched her daughter sing at a neighbourhood church and she was convinced. The girl just shone. These kids learn self- discipline, and they find there is hope in their daily lives. Many are new immigrants and make their first friends here. They learn to speak English, and so do their parents. They learn they must practice each and every day to get better, and then they perform for an audience and they feel such pride. They all make the connection between hard work and joy. You can see it in their faces and in the faces of the people who watch them.”