Six schools in the NWT will soon be able to tune up some brand-new instruments after receiving a combined $65,000 through the MusiCounts Band Aid program.
The national charity provides schools with money to purchase equipment and bolster their music curriculum. Ninety-five schools across the country have received a total of $1 million in 2021, including eight schools in Nunavut and two in the Yukon.
In a news release, MusiCounts said sending $173,000 to 16 schools in the three territories this year was “unprecedented.”
NWT recipients include Mildred Hall and Range Lake North schools in Yellowknife, École Boréale in Hay River, Echo Dene School in Fort Liard, Deh Gah School in Fort Providence, and Charles Yohin School in Nahanni Butte.
Together, those schools have been awarded $65,000.
Angela Griffin, principal of Deh Gah School in Fort Providence, told Cabin Radio her school is receiving $13,000 through the program.
“It was exciting to get it,” she said. “Any help is always welcome, and the kids really enjoy music. They really love playing instruments. They learn really quickly.”
Dana Merrigan, who teaches music for Mildred Hall in Yellowknife, said her school will be using the $12,000 it was awarded to purchase new xylophones, glockenspiels, mallets, mouthpieces for band instruments, and iPads for music programming.
“I hope these new instruments can help us welcome the new school year with a new energy and excitement to the music program after it has been hit hard by Covid,” Merrigan said in an email.
École Boréale has received $6,000 to purchase and repair instruments and recording equipment.
“As a music teacher and as a person that works within school environments, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a music program,” music teacher Pierre Cook said. “It’s just a great avenue for kids to express themselves, to critically think, to problem-solve, but in a different creative output.”
Cook’s music class puts together a bi-weekly podcast called Radio Boréale, which includes both written and musical content produced by the students.
Having better recording equipment will allow them to improve the show, Cook said.
“We’re very proud of our product, and we want to take it to the next level,” Cook said. “The students already have a base of knowledge on how to produce and publish this stuff, and all these tools are going to make it a little more efficient.
“I wanted to invest in these guys and say look, we’ve got real talent here. We could create our own little ecosystem here.”