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St. Agnes School receives national funding to support its music programs

MusiCounts is the charitable foundation of the Juno Awards, and for the past 25 years, the organization has invested money into music education programs across the country.
st. agnes summer2
St. Agnes School. File photo

St. Agnes School has received $13,000 from the national MusiCounts Band Aid Program to support its music education program and purchase new instruments for the school.

MusiCounts is the charitable foundation of the Juno Awards, and for the past 25 years, the organization has invested money into music education programs across the country. The initiative provides under-resourced schools with grants of up to $15,000 for musical instruments, equipment and resources. 

The Band Aid Program also celebrates diversity in music education.

This year, the foundation awarded $362,500 to 32 schools in Western Canada, while in total, it handed out $875,000 to 78 schools across Canada. 

“MusiCounts is so proud to have contributed to the success and sustenance of music programming in the Prairies and Western Canada, but there is still so much to do,” the organization said. “After 25 years of making investments through the MusiCounts Band Aid Program, we’re still only able to support one in every five schools that ask for our help. It will take a chorus of music education champions to help close this gap.”

St. Agnes School in Moose Jaw was one of nine Saskatchewan schools to receive funding this year.

“Honestly, it has been a very exciting time for our school. The application process started back in November 2021, and I was notified of our successful grant over the Easter break,” said teacher Cherie Esson. 

This is the first time the school has received funding through the MusiCounts Band Aid Program. In 2005, Sacred Heart School received similar funding.

Esson explained that St. Agnes will use the money to purchase new instruments and equipment to support its music education program, while some of the funds will be used for instrument repairs and purchasing instruction books. The school will also pursue First Nations musical instruments and invite an elder, knowledge keeper and clinician to introduce and build traditional Aboriginal instruments with the students. 

Even though the grant is aimed at band programs, the money gives the school a chance to support all parts of its music education program, including classroom music, choir, and elementary band for grades 6 to 8, she continued. The school is without a dedicated music room, so the money allows it to make learning to play new instruments available and accessible to every classroom.

“Being exposed to instruments in grades 1 to 5 can also encourage students to join band in grades 6 to 8,” Esson said. “As educators, it is our responsibility to offer the widest variety of learning experiences possible to our students.”

St. Agnes’ music and band programs enable the school to provide built-in times to offer music instruction that many students do not receive outside of school, she added. Also, music can be a lifelong gift where students can develop life skills in collaboration, creativity, positivity, problem-solving and empathy.

Visit https://musicounts.ca/en/ for more information about the MusiCounts Band Aid Program.