Toronto’s first significant snowfall of the season was no damper on a stellar night of live performances and DJ sets in support of The Three Rs Music Program. On November 15, we held Let the Music Play, an event to collect instruments, celebrate the program, and to mark the end of our instrument drive in the greater Toronto and Hamilton area (GTHA).
The night kicked off with the sweet sounds of DJ Justin Peroff, an Artist Ambassador for the Three Rs Music Program who plays in numerous bands including Broken Social Scene, and is a multi-talented veteran of the music industry. He’s worked as an artist manager, promoter, and as an actor in Hollywood-based and Canadian television productions. Justin is adept at working a room on the turntables and his all vinyl set was the perfect start to the evening.
Our host for Let the Music Play was journalist and broadcaster Garvia Bailey, who is a member of the Three Rs Music Program Advisory Committee. Bailey is truly talented at engaging and connecting with her audience. Throughout the evening, she advocated for the impact music can have in the lives of young people, a refrain echoed by each performer who had their own story to tell about how an instrument they received as child changed their life.
Raha Javanfar performed the first live set of the evening. In between intricate yet bluesy and fun fiddle numbers, she recounted of how her life-long passion and career path began when she first picked up a fiddle at the age of four. She now leads a group called Bad Luck Woman and Her Misfortunes. Equal parts musician and theatre performer, Raha is also bass player and singer. She is also an award-winning lighting and projections designer.
Sarah Hashem, Managing Director of The Three Rs Music Program, addressed the crowd and announced that although the event marked the official end to the GTHA instrument drive, we would still be collecting instruments until November 30 in order to have the biggest impact on Ontario students. We’re very thankful for our drop off locations for offering their space for two more weeks. If you have instruments to donate but you are unable to make it to any of our drop off locations, please contact [email protected].
Following the announcement, we were very proud to premiere a video of The Three Rs Music Program’s first donation event in Lindsay, Ontario. The video features Jeremy Drury of The Strumbellas surprising students at Central Senior Public School in his hometown with a donation of one of his drum kits.
The second DJ set of the evening came courtesy of Ian Campeau, aka DJ NDN. Ian is a former founding member of A Tribe Called Red and currently working as a political activist, DJ and EDM musician. In his advocacy, Ian combines art with activism to speak up about issues ranging from racism to oppression and mental health. He is also a member of the Three Rs Music Program Advisory Committee, and at Let the Music Play, he heated up the dance floor on a snowy evening.
The final performance of the night came from multi-disciplinary artist Domanique Grant. Grant is a singer, songwriter, stage performer and public speaker who wowed the crowd with her sensational vocals. She was accompanied by a guitar player and a harpist, and told the crowd how her exposure to music at a young age had profoundly impacted her life’s journey.
The performers were among the many amazing people who brought instrument donations with them to Let the Music Play, contributing to the fantastic success of the event. We want to extend our heartfelt thanks everyone who donated an instrument, volunteered their business as a drop off location, performed at our event, spread the word, or contributed in any other way to the program. You are all responsible for the incredible impact this program will continue to have on young people in Ontario.
Below are more photos from Let the Music Play, and a full photo album can be viewed on our Facebook page.