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Helping pass along the gift of music (4 photos)

Aberfoyle Public School received soprano ukuleles, music books thanks to the Royal City Ukulele Ensemble

A local elementary school received the gift of music on Wednesday, June 12. Aberfoyle Public School is the lucky recipient this year as the result of two years of hard work by a local music group.

The Royal City Ukulele Ensemble (RCUE), a 30-member adult learning ensemble, has been collecting small honorariums from their numerous community performances around the city for the last two and a half years. They raised enough funds to purchase 30 quality ukuleles and music method books (value $3,000+) for a local school to help kickstart their ukulele music program.

“The group is thrilled to be able to pass along our love for music education - and for this wonderful instrument - to children in our community,” shares RCUE Director and music educator, Cynthia Kinnunen.

Teachers in both local school boards were invited to make a pitch if they were interested in receiving the ukuleles in their school. Nine members of the Ensemble formed a review committee, including Rachel Collins.

“It was a really difficult decision because we’d love to see ukuleles in every school,” she notes. “All 24 schools who sent us their stories were deserving and we really hope to be able to do it again in the future with more schools.”

Melissa Gray, the music teacher who submitted the winning pitch from Aberfoyle Public School, has been working hard to develop music programming at the school. “We are thrilled to be the recipients of this generous gift. These ukuleles will become an integral part of our growing music program here at Aberfoyle Public School.”

Aberfoyle Public School received 30 Ohana brand soprano ukuleles with soft cases, plus 30 copies of Ukulele in the Classroom Level 1 books, a music teaching approach used in Canadian schools for over 50 years.

“The methodology is very robust and teaches all of the fundamentals of music literacy and musicianship using the ukulele as instrument.” Cynthia is also providing a workshop for the teachers in the school to help them prepare for the incoming ukuleles.

Additionally, the Ensemble wanted to help get the school excited about receiving the ukes so some members of RCUE performed for students on June 12 when they presented the ukuleles and books to the school.

“We were so pleased to be able to connect with the kids and teachers at the school and share our excitement for music making and for this instrument,” Cynthia notes. “Three cheers for music education!”