Donations make music count

Mallory
Mallory Clarkson
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Larkhall Academy benefits from charitable program

It wasn't MusiCounts' $10,000 donation that excited the stream of students shuffling into Larkhall Academy's gymnasium Thursday in St. John's.

It was a performance by Van-couver, B.C.-based singers Bobs and Lolo.

The Juno-nominated duo's interactive performance had about 350 students singing and clapping after the official announcement of the 2009-2010 Band Aid grant from MusiCounts - a music education charity associated with the Cana-dian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Larkhall Academy had a celebration Thursday to recognize a $10,000 instrument grant from MusicCounts. Juno-nominated children entertainers Bobs and Lolo performed. - Photo By Mark Burt/Special to The Telegram

It wasn't MusiCounts' $10,000 donation that excited the stream of students shuffling into Larkhall Academy's gymnasium Thursday in St. John's.

It was a performance by Van-couver, B.C.-based singers Bobs and Lolo.

The Juno-nominated duo's interactive performance had about 350 students singing and clapping after the official announcement of the 2009-2010 Band Aid grant from MusiCounts - a music education charity associated with the Cana-dian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Bobs and Lolo - Robyn Hardy and Lorraine Pond respectively - have released three educational albums and are working on their fourth, for release later this year.

The group sings educational songs about everything from the environment to friendship.

"I think that interacting and engaging with the kids is so much fun and having their energy helps our energy and it's a really great tool for teaching," said Bobs.

The donation gave the school the opportunity to purchase 23 musical instruments including flutes, trumpets and congo drums to name a few.

"This has been a wonderful opportunity for our school. We actually don't have any instruments that we own," Larkhall's music teacher Suzan Lee said.

"The children who enrol in the band program have to supply their own instruments either through renting or purchasing."

The instruments will be lent to students based on who the school thinks will benefit the most.

Lee was joined by MusiCounts' president and CEO, Melanie Berry, and executive director Steve Cranwell to unveil the new instruments after the opening number by the Grade 6 school band.

"One of the great things is that it affects the community at large. Schools have the opportunity to participate in festivals, in concerts, they're able to go abroad, where before they never had that opportunity," Cranwell said, adding more than $3.5 million has been donated since MusiCounts was created in 1997.

This year, 60 grants totalling more than $500,000 have been donated to schools across the country.

"That is really the ultimate goal - to make instruments available and then the teachers can restart brand new programs - new programs that they never had access to before," said Cranwell.

An additional $15,000 was do-nated to MusiCounts Thursday from the Royal Bank of Canada.

The bank's regional vice-president for Newfoundland and Lab-rador, Sean Munroe, said children's development in the arts is important to the company so they make sure it's well represented in its donations.

mclarkson@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Larkhall Academy, Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Grade 6 school Royal Bank of Canada Newfoundland and Lab

Geographic location: St. John's

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