My first year in the Middle School, Grade 6, all I can remember is the event “Keep the Beat: In Support of War Child Canada.” I was 12 and I remember a few Senior School students playing at our assembly and encouraging us to participate in a music marathon in May, 2007. I remember meeting Charlie (one of my best friends now) in jazz band and asking him to jam with me one day. Subliminally, I was saying I wanted to form a rock band and perform at this Keep the Beat show. Months passed and we soon found a drummer, Casey, and asked our friend Keenan to write a rap song along with some chords I wrote. We ended up needing a bassist, so Keenan awkwardly held one of Charlie’s guitars for the first time and played only the first four strings on it.
Very rock and roll, I thought.
We played an afternoon talent show concert in the single gym at SMUS. We played two originals and got surprising applause and hollers from the crowd. This one little concert motivated us to continue. We went through different members in our band and cycled through band names like crazy: Up Next, E-Winter, Electric Winter, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy. The last three of course were never our names but you get the point.
It was Grade 9 when I really started to understand the inner workings of fundraising around War Child Canada. Not only did Keep the Beat start my music career and help many other musicians, it also supported one of the most credible, significant and truthful NGOs in Canada in my opinion. When the founder, Dr. Samantha Nutt, talked to our school last year, I could feel in my bones that if I were to play music in support of any charity focusing on children and women affected by war overseas, it would be War Child.
The organization focuses on three major keys to peace. These include: education, opportunity and justice. The way in which Samantha spoke about how exactly War Child Canada helps the local people of Sudan or Uganda was honest and direct. She has seen first hand how the money helps with the restoration and the rejuvenation of each community and it felt very good knowing where SMUS has been sending the thousands of dollars each year. As a school we take our fundraising seriously and that has come through especially when we reached $10,000 last year for Keep the Beat. It is evident that people are influenced by facts and statistics of world poverty and issues. However, in the majority of modern societies, music and the arts always have the potential to provoke emotion and help people give big. I am positive War Child Canada will always be grateful for the enthusiasm and financial support we, as a school, have given them. In return, I will always be grateful for the opportunity the Keep the Beat fundraiser has presented me.
Don’t forget there are almost 100 high-resolution photos of the day available in the SMUS photo gallery.