An Instrumental Gift At Caradoc Public School in Ontario, Canada, the instrumental band program was popular with students and valued by teachers and administrators. The only problem was there weren’t enough instruments for the children to play. Students had to take turns playing instruments (with up to four students per instrument) or were turned away— something Principal Ron Van Belois and music teacher Julie Malcolm hated doing, but had no choice due to budget constraints. But when Mt. Brydges Lions Club President and musician Ron Madill stopped by the school to chat about the benefits of music education with Van Belois, things were about to change. The Lions responded to the school’s plight with nearly $9,000 in musical instruments and equipment. Caradoc’s students are now happily playing away, discovering talents and skills that only music can bring. Q&A: Ron Van Belois and Julie Malcolm LION Magazine: How did the school react when you received the Lions’ gift? Julie Malcolm: Immediately the students were most impressed with the huge drum set! But as we got into classes, they were relieved with how many opportunities and choices they had. It was really nice to be able to hold an assembly and bring all the students together to celebrate. And the younger students are excited about instrumental music now! LM: What instruments did the school receive? JM: We received a collection of flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, trombones and more. The nonprofit Music Aid helped out with a drum set, and they engraved “Mt. Brydges Lions/ Lionesses” on each instrument. In my entire career, I’ve never seen or heard of a community contribution so generous. LM: Why is music education important to your school? Ron Van Belois: Music is such a big part of our lives. Students deserve a well-rounded education, and that includes music. These instruments have brought about change in students’ behavior and attitudes toward learning, especially in some who were disengaged before having this opportunity. JM: Learning an instrument is like learning how to speak in a completely new language. Students call upon so many important skills they’ve learned in school and put it all together for themselves and as part of a team. The chance to be creative in a different setting is such a valuable part of school life. LM: What does this gift mean for the students? JM: We know that not every child learns in the same way. A music program may be just the experience someone needs to fit into the school environment and feel they’re making a contribution. LM: Did the students have a chance to thank the Lions? JM: We held a concert at Caradoc and invited the Lions and Lionesses. We also played at the Lions’ Christmas party. That was a great team building and social activity for the band! RVB: We will continue to thank the Lions and Lionesses for their contribution, not only for the great gift that it was, but to instill a legacy of giving back in the students. Lions: have you heard from a beneficiary or a recipient of your kindness, service or charity? Tell us about the feedback you receive from those whose lives you’ve changed for the better. Email a brief description of your correspondence to email@example.com. Please include “Thanks and Appreciation” in the subject line.
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