Abundant is the garden planted with musical seeds, says the charitable non-profit Euterpe: Music Is The Key — and that’s just the bountiful flower bed they’re sowing with their growing series of Canadian school-age programming, initiatives, awareness, and releases.
Named for the mythical Greek muse of music, Euterpe (pronounced you-ter-pee) is expanding its 15+ years of bringing one-of-a-kind, enriching Classical, Jazz, and other musical experiences into local schools towards a series of larger, farther-reaching outreach across the country.
“The reduction — and in some places, outright elimination — of music in our schools over the last 20 years is a crisis in itself,” Euterpe’s founder and artistic director Dr. Catherine Wilson says. “With the ongoing impact of Covid-19 further exacerbating many situations, the problems our children face now could have been greatly reduced if music had been available to them in this way.”
Among the solutions, according to Dr. Wilson in both her tenured experience in the field, as well personally crediting music as having saved her life, is to expand the introduction of the craft to students of all ages, levels of musical familiarity and experience, and a range of variously-served communities.
“Our unique programs provide compelling and fun experiences with benefits that last a lifetime,” she explains. “These experiences are known to be inspirational, educational, and to have tremendous impact on children from diverse cultural backgrounds. Underserved children and communities are a focus, but all children, and all ages, are on our radar.”
Through the creation of multiple categories of world-class video programs that relay the same inspiring musical experiences held through their live performances, the Toronto-based collective is set to expand its reach to national and international audiences.
First is the dynamically designed hybrid series born from Euterpe’s 15+ years of live music education performance programs in schools that is funded through the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The hybrid series will feature interactive live talks that will actively involve children’s participation.
Second is the first six of 30+ music education performance videos, with initial funding from the Canada Council For The Arts, that Euterpe is creating to be provided free-of-charge to Canadian schools. “This video series will be available nationwide, as well as on YouTube and other social media platforms, allowing the benefits of our inspiring and invaluable work to be accessed by school boards in all provinces and territories, and around the world.”
“When musical seeds are planted, it can lead to enhancing focus and discipline in all areas of academia — including geometry, math, artistry, and more,” she continues. “We also believe, as our motto says, that ‘music is the key’ for embedding skills to overcome problems and puzzles, unfolding social development and a deeper understanding of leadership, emotional expression, empathy, creativity, group cooperation, and social skills.
“When cultivated, these seeds can spark a career in music, all the way to sometimes, and most profoundly, fostering an inner healing of trauma, or the rebalancing of the spirit and body for overall well-being.”
On board are esteemed musicians Corey Gemmell, Tom Mueller, George Koller, and Norman Hathaway, Euterpe’s president, (who all play alongside Wilson as part of Euterpe’s parallel flagship core-music outfit, Ensemble Vivant) delivering Euterpe’s programs, along with many other notable artists from the Classical and Jazz communities.
One such example is drummer and composer Adrian Bent (Drake, Jay Z, Daniel Caesar, Stevie Wonder), who has embraced the program’s offerings, and is also collaborating with Ensemble Vivant on their forthcoming new album, iFUGUE (A World of Fugues), set to be released March 31, 2022 — the anniversary of J.S. Bach’s birth.
“This music is so important, and children are not getting opportunities like these in schools anymore,” Bent says. “Studies say learning music like this makes you smarter, and I know this is true. Euterpe: Music Is The Key inspires children, and opens their minds to the world of music, and its enriching benefits.”
Euterpe’s mission-forward, front-and-centre focus on providing children an immersive experience unlike anything they have ever heard continues to leave lasting impressions on a resounding number of participants.
Now age 20, recording artist and musical theatre mainstay Ismael Paris was in Grade 6 when first introduced to Classical and Jazz music through Euterpe: Music Is The Key. “I remember sitting on the gym floor, and all of the experience was so fascinating to me,” the Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton performer shares. “Everything seemed just perfect, and I remember feeling euphoric. I felt I needed to be part of this, and that I needed to go to the pianist, Catherine Wilson, and ask her to help me — which she did, so much.
“Music has honestly changed my life so much,” Paris continues. “Not only has it helped me through so much personally, but I also find music brings people together. Euterpe has been very supportive with my music, inspiring and helping me build my craft, and shape my musical path.”
Music Is The Key to great doors opening, and with Euterpe’s expanded programming more children across Canada are set to walk through.