-10.6 C
Friday, January 17, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Fundraiser to help St. Jacobs PS music program


News Briefs

Woolwich nixes traffic islands Displeased with the troublesome pedestrian islands installed during the Region of Waterloo’s reconstruction of Church Street...

Woolwich proposes 5% tax hike for 2020

Budget talks underway this week, Woolwich council is looking at five per cent hike in property taxes, a...

20-year-old agreement causes a stir

An Elmira environmentalist’s “smoking gun” appears to be shooting blanks. Al Marshall, a long-time critic of cleanup efforts at...

Chicken barn destroyed by fire Thursday morning

Fire completely levelled a two-storey chicken barn on the Third Line of Mapleton Township Thursday morning....


light rain
-10.6 ° C
-8.3 °
-13 °
66 %
75 %
-8 °
-4 °
4 °
-6 °
-7 °

Emma Mewhiney and Camryn Cloostra participate in the St. Jacobs PS strings program saved by Rachel Dyck’s mother a decade ago. An April 3 concert will raise money to keep it going.[Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
Emma Mewhiney and Camryn Cloostra participate in the St. Jacobs PS strings program saved by Rachel Dyck’s mother a decade ago. An April 3 concert will raise money to keep it going. [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
A decade ago, Rachel Dyck’s mother saved the strings program at St. Jacobs Public School. After funds were cut, Evelyne Dyck volunteered to teach her son and other interested Grade 7 and 8 students how to play the school’s small collection of violins, violas, cellos and double bases.

When she passed away last year, her two daughters and a friend – all graduates of the program – took over teaching duties in her memory. Now, facing ongoing repair costs for the instruments, Rachel Dyck is partnering with the school and some surprising graduates of the improvised program to put on a fundraiser and show next month.

“I think she just decided it would be a good thing for the school to still have a program so she said she would volunteer to make it happen,” Rachel Dyck said of her mother’s project. “My brother actually didn’t join, which is kind of funny, but she did it anyway.”

When the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s electric violinist Mark Wood visited Elmira for a show in 2009, the program made it possible for the St. Jacobs strings group to join him onstage with EDSS and Park Manor players.

“It allows kids to develop skills that they wouldn’t ordinarily get to develop. Reading music, for one, is huge. It’s like a whole other language that a lot of people don’t really speak anymore, but I think it’s very beneficial and very fulfilling.

“I think to have kids follow through with the commitment and see that they can actually do it is why having a performance especially is really cool,” she said.

Even a member of Elmira’s Stained Glass Army, guitarist Mitchell McCloy, is a graduate of the St. Jacobs strings program. SGA had success in 2012-2913 with a national competition that earned the boys several recording and promotional perks along with a trip to perform in Quebec.

“I think my mom really appreciated his enthusiasm for the program and she saw him as someone who loves music and I think he’s pursued that,” Dyck said.

St. Jacobs PS students will play several songs during the concert along with several guests including McCloy and the Kitchener-Waterloo folk duo Quiet in the Land. Former principal Geoff Lewis, now a folk musician, will also make an appearance.

“I think he was the principal my mom originally approached. He’s going to play classic tunes on his guitar,” Dyck said.

She doesn’t know what the future of the program holds with its three instructors in the middle of their post secondary educations. Some students pick up the instruments as a hobby, others hope to play in high school and take private lessons from Dyck.

“The group we have right now has been pretty committed. Usually violin lessons are pretty expensive so it is cool that the kids have an opportunity to play.”

The program is run by three university students (Dyck attends the University of Waterloo, her sister Rebecca, the University of Toronto, and friend Lindsay Mewhiney, Wilfrid Laurier University) and has touched a number of lives, Dyck said. Her father Gerry Dyck has offered support, as has the current school principal in planning the concert.

“We thought, no matter what happens to the program it would be nice for these instruments to be in good condition.”

The instrument repairs, paid for through a private donation, were done by Riedstra’s Violin Shop owned by Henry Riedstra. His mother was the first music teacher at the school, Dyck said.

The hour-and-a-half concert takes place at St. Jacobs PS on April 3. Doors open at 6 p.m. with a 6:30 p.m. start. Donations will cover instrument repairs and future maintenance of the strings program.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


The new face of health promotion

There’s a new face around the Woolwich Community Health Centre. Gebre Berlihun has taken on the role of public health promoter after the retirement of 25-year employee Joy Finney in October.

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

EDCL donates $1,000 as thank-you to Floradale firefighters

Thanking the Woolwich Fire Department, Elmira District Community Living this week donated $1,000 to the Floradale station. Firefighters from Floradale...

EDSS student wins U.S. baseball scholarship

It’s January and nowhere near Florida, but St. Jacobs’ Blake Jacklin is in a baseball frame of mind. That’s not a passing fancy,...

Choir to bring the sounds of Africa to Elmira

An Elmira church will play host to a lively performance by an internationally-acclaimed children’s choir from Uganda, Africa. The Watoto...

Applejacks extend winning streak to three

The new year continues to be good to the Wellesley Applejacks, who picked up a pair of wins over the weekend to make...

Kings win two more to keep streak alive

The Elmira Sugar Kings extended their 2020 winning streak and their hold on the conference standings with a pair of wins over the weekend.
- Advertisement -