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Surrey schools get music grants

Tamanawis Secondary and Forsyth Elementary share $15,000 from MusiCounts to enhance music education programs.

Surrey music students can play the blues, but they don't have to feel them, thanks to MusiCounts.

The Canadian charity has awarded "Band Aid" grants totaling $15,000 to Tamanawis Secondary and Forsyth Road Elementary to help the two schools enhance and expand their music education programming.

Tamanawis, which has grown its music program from near extinction a few years ago to a thriving repertoire of band, guitar and choral students, will use the school's $10,000 grant to replace some concert band equipment and introduce new instruments that will appeal to the broader school population.

"We want to go further and push the boundaries of our music program," said Tamanawis principal Margaux Molson. "The funds will be used to introduce drum line to our students and bring in percussion instruments from all around the world. Prepare to be amazed by the expansion of our music program!"

Only 80 schools across Canada received Band Aid grants, and Molson is thrilled the organization recognized the value of the Tamanawis program. Not only has the school's music program expanded, it's given rise to extracurricular jazz and musical theatre programs.

At Forsyth Road Elementary, where world music is exceptionally popular, the $5,000 grant from MusiCounts will also help pay for new types of instruments so students can learn to perform the music they already love.

Principal Carol Davison credits music teacher Darryl Penner, who also teaches at Bridgeview Elementary, for inspiring in his students an appreciation for a wide variety of music.

"It's a national competition, so we feel like we're 'the little school that could.'"

MusiCounts is a registered charity whose mission is to ensure that Canadian children have access to comprehensive music programs through their schools regardless of socio-economic circumstances.

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