A Creative Communications student at Red River College (RRC) is giving underprivileged children the opportunity to learn to play music and embrace the positive benefits it can have on their lives.
Kristi Nikkel’s event, Music 4 Music is taking place this upcoming Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017 at the downtown RRC campus at 160 Princess Street.
The proceeds from the event will be donated to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s Sistema Winnipeg program, which offers after-school music lessons for kids whose families cannot afford a traditional music education.
“Music has been a huge part of my life,” said Nikkel, who started playing the piano at the age of five and also competed as a rhythmic gymnast. “I knew it was really important to give these kids the same opportunity.”
Nikkel says she chose Sistema Winnipeg because of the reality that some children are not afforded the same opportunities as others in life because of their family’s socioeconomic status.
“The first time I visited, (Sistema Winnipeg) I had a little girl come up to me with so much enthusiasm and ask if she could play me a song she just learned,” said Nikkel. “It was ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ on her violin and that made me fall in love with the program and realize how important it is.”
Though the program is free of charge for parents of students, it costs the organization $3-thousand per student, per year to run the lessons. The kids take part in after-school sessions Monday to Friday and are also provided with healthy snacks, sheet music and instruments for them to practice with, according to Nikkel.
She says her goal is to raise $6-thousand, so she can bring two kids off the waiting list.
“I just think it’s important that these kids get an equal opportunity to learn music,” said Nikkel. “A lot of people don’t realize that music isn’t just learning to play a song, it’s a skill set that can help these kids in other things in life, especially if you learn it at a young age.”
“It helps them transfer valuable skills to their other classes and helps them with discipline and time management.”
A number of local musicians will perform at the event, including soul and jazz artist Chenoa McKelvey, acoustic singer/songwriter Garrett Neiles and classic rock and blues group the Spencer Myers Band. There will also be a surprise performance by some special guests.
Nikkel says it was important to bring in local artists on board for the show.
“These people know what it’s like to grow up with music and they know how important it can be in all aspects of their life,” she said. “I want them to be able to show the kids that yes, you can pursue music as a lifestyle.”
The event will also include a live painter, whose works will be auctioned off at the end of the night.
Nikkel says she has sold 80 tickets to the event so far and is hoping to sell at least 50 more by Saturday. They cost $35 each and can be purchased at eventbrite.com. If you cannot attend but want to donate you can visit the event’s Go Fund Me page. It starts at 7:00 pm.
To learn more about Sistema Winnipeg visit the WSO’s website.