Community Music School expands to Jane and Finch as it approaches its 10th anniversary at Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park.
Students of the Regent Park School of Music with Sun Ra Arkestra in 2012 at the opening of Daniels Spectrum.
Over the years of working with nonprofits, I’ve found that one of the most difficult things to define is community. And in our industry, it’s our bread and butter.
Community development, as defined by Gary Paul Green and Anna Haines in their book Asset Building & Community Development, is “fostering healthy infrastructure that ultimately leads to healthy communities.”
Community is what we always prioritize, nurture and strive to nurture. Every community has its own set of assets that are as complex as their challenges. Effective community development employs creative approaches to maximize these assets, combat challenges, and effect positive change. When we talk to politicians, city planners, probation officers, and even police chiefs, when it comes to dreaming big for our cities, we’re all about bringing us maverick musicians to the table. Always sticking around. It’s important to get people to look at this creative city from different perspectives. This is where music and community building intersect.
We see it in many ways every day, whether it’s played with deep meaning in music lessons, parent meetings, neighborhood committees, or single notes. A recent example of Lament: Bearing Witness Russell Wallace and Hussein Janmohamed are two loving music educators who love connecting people with music. The song, sung by 215 singers all on the same note, was created to honor his 215 bodies found last year at a boarding school in Kamloops.
Music is not an afterthought to foster healthy communities. Done right, the music becomes embedded and essential. Shortly after the Syrian refugee crisis began, we contacted local hotels and shelters to ensure that displaced young people who needed us more than ever received a musical education. This is happening again with displaced Ukrainian students seeking the same assistance, in search of food, clothing and housing. Accessing meaningful connections through things like music plays a pivotal role in the development of our communities, especially in healing and reintegration.
Through the pandemic, we have realized that our community has become more than our name suggests. That’s why we rebranded the Regent’s Park School of Music and turned it into Toronto’s Community Music School.
We are celebrating 10 years at Daniel’s Spectrum in Regent’s Park. As a result, we look back on his 20+ years of impact on the communities where our vision for community music was born. We have seen many successes such as Mustafa the Poet, Charlotte Seigel, Francis Gott Heat and hundreds of other alumni. They may not have gone to school to study music, but they are now leaders in their own unique ways.
We are now on the verge of creating a new permanent space for the school in the Jane and Finch district. This exciting prospect means taking all the learnings of the last decade at Daniels Spectrum and aiming to share them with friends and colleagues in this new region. However, we know that every community is different and success in this field is based on trust that will help influence current and future students even more. We have worked hard to build programs in the Finch District.
Of course, we wouldn’t be able to do all of this without Artscape, who at Daniels Spectrum helped organizations like ours grow and learn to support each other. Know that we are not working alone, but working together in a united way to support this building and the communities we are proud to be a part of. increase.
Many of our dreams may have been canceled over the past two years, but we are now partnering to make music, foster connections, share ideas and new dreams, and bring our space to life. i’m back. More importantly, we foster goodwill in every connection to grow the happy communities and cities we are proud to call home.
Richard Marsella is Executive Director of Community Music Schools in Toronto. For more information about the school, please visit www.communitymusic.org.