In 2021, El Sistema Grey Bruce (The Big Sound) was thrilled to learn it had received a one year, $21,600 Community Building Fund grant from the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Thanks to the grant, The Big Sound has been able to deliver a Music and Movement Program to over 240 junior kindergarten to Grade 3 students at three local Bluewater District School Board elementary schools.

“El Sistema Grey Bruce's 'The Big Sound' project is a hands-on addition to the curriculum of students. This unique program promotes musical instruction, social development, and most importantly, fun for students who have faced many challenges during the pandemic. I have no doubt that students participating in 'The Big Sound' Program will include music in their lives for years to come," said Rick Byers, MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.

Students participating in this initiative attend Alexandra Community School, East Ridge Community School, and Hillcrest Elementary School. Thanks to the Community Building Fund grant that has helped with key operating costs, The Big Sound acquired a wide variety of instruments (spoons, guiros, cow bells, shakers, jingle bells, and more) and hired a professional musician who introduced students to the instruments and how to read and play music.

“This support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation has enabled us to reach more students than ever before, thus allowing The Big Sound to introduce students to the joy of singing, playing pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments, and creating music, consistent with the Ontario curriculum,” noted David McLeish, President of The Big Sound.

Different than typical one on one music lessons, The Big Sound’s Music and Movement Program treats the class as an ensemble who sing and play instruments together once per week throughout the school year. Classes are led by a professional musician who, along with the classroom teachers, create a nurturing environment for the children.

“This generous support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation enhances the musical education of our youngest students at three Owen Sound elementary schools,” said Lori Wilder, Bluewater District School Board Director of Education. “We value our partnership with our community partners at The Big Sound, whose commitment to fostering music education and the development of important life skills, including team building and self-confidence, enriches the learning experience of our students.”

The Big Sound operates on the evidence-based premise that musical instruction improves a child’s self-confidence, concentration, and motivation. Ultimately, this can translate into greater academic achievement and a healthier, happier life.

“The Big Sound sincerely appreciates the financial support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation as it allows us to deliver our mission of sharing music education and helping children develop personal agency,” added McLeish.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) mission is to build healthy and vibrant communities across Ontario. As an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations, last year, OTF invested nearly $209M into 2,042 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Since 2020, OTF has supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Visit to learn more. 

source: media release




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