Music Monday event promises to amaze Island music lovers

Erin McCabe
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Susan Duncan, left, works with some Grade 6 students from West Kent Elementary School who are practising the Music Monday anthem, Is Somebody Singing. Helena Vos, second from left, Noelle Pettipas, Isaac McCardle and Stuart Ferguson are among the 61 students from West Kent who are part of the 400-member children's choir singing at the May 5 event at Trinity United Church. It begins at 12:30 p.m.

Canadian schools marking 10th anniversary of Music Monday program

Monday, May 5, is the 10th anniversary of Music Monday, an event that puts the focus on music education in schools all across Canada.

To mark the special day, schools and other institutions across the country are holding events to celebrate music, and viewers will be able to see snippets from most of these celebrations streamed live on the Music Monday website (musicmonday.ca).

Don Quarles, one of the organizers of the Music Monday event happening in Charlottetown at Trinity United Church, believes Charlottetown’s event is one of the best in the country. Performers such as Tim Chaisson, Meaghan Blanchard and Lennie Gallant will be participating, as well as a 400-member children’s choir directed by Kelsea McLean and comprised of students from primary and elementary schools across the province.

Montague Intermediate School band and the Montague Regional High School choir will also be at the event, as well the Holland College Outreach Combo and the Mommas and Poppas of Whisperwood Villa.

There will even be an appearance from the Six String Nation guitar.

“To get all this talent in one room would be crazy, so, I’m really excited about it. The energy in that room — there’s going to be 1,000 people in that church and it’s going to be just incredible,” says Quarles.

Music Monday events from across Canada will be streamed live on the event’s website, he says.

“Essentially, it’s going to start in Newfoundland and essentially work its way across the country.”

The Charlottetown concert begins at 12:30 p.m. on May 5, and the national stream begins at 1 p.m. If someone has access to the Internet, says Quarles, they can tune in anywhere.

Former astronaut Chris Hadfield will also be participating in Music Monday, although this time, his feet will be firmly planted on the ground.

Last year, while in space, Hadfield led about 1,000,000 people in singing the Music Monday anthem, Is Somebody Singing, which was co-written by him and Ed Robertson of the Bare Naked Ladies.

This year, everyone at all Music Monday events across Canada will sing the same anthem in unison — with a downbeat provided by Maestro Bramwell Tovey of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra via the live stream.

“It’s quite an endeavour,” says Quarles, “Of course it’s hard to beat having somebody singing from space last year, which was a first — in the universe.”

Quarles says those watching the live stream will get to see Charlottetown’s event for about four or five minutes, but everyone is welcome to go the full event live.

Admission is free, but organizers would gratefully accept donations to help with incidental costs, such as expenses with the church.

CBC’s Bruce Rainnie will host the event at Trinity United. He will receive some help from student host Katie Shaw.

Some special guests at the event will be Lt.-Gov. Frank Lewis and his wife, as well as a music consultant from the Department of Education, says Quarles.

 “We want to bring attention to the fact that music education is important,” he says.

“It builds wonderful citizens. It’s not just about music. It’s about science, it’s about English, it’s about history. Music is a foundation and teaches good habits.”

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