Opening Day: Artists’ Involvement in Support of Sistema Toronto

Opening Day was delighted to be involved in a project put on by the University of Toronto Faculty of Music Undergraduate Association this past fall. Each year the FMUA invites student and faculty members to perform at a Benefit Concert in support of a Toronto-based music education programme. This year the FMUA reached out to Sistema Toronto, a relatively young institution in the city established in 2011, following in the footsteps of the growing global phenomenon, El Sistema. A social development programme originating in Venezuela in 1975, the vision of Sistema Toronto is to provide “free, ensemble-based music lessons to inspire children at risk to realize their full potential as students, musicians, and citizens.”

The concert included a raffle for numerous prizes donated by donors from all over Toronto, and a number of Opening Day artists provided CDs that were snatched up by raffle participants. The Canadian Brass was in residence at the university during the week leading up to the concert, and the group was able to offer its support at a Noon Time event advertising the concert. The Brassencouraged students to attend, discussing the importance and necessity of programmes like El Sistema, as well as performing for the crowd. The concert was held at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, and the amount raised was more than double that of previous years. The students of Sistema Toronto also performed, and they enchanted the audience with their energy and passion. It is truly wonderful to see such inspiring steps being made in music education today