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U of T Scarborough students sing for togetherness in Canada 150 anthem

Youth4Music Toronto pictured with Juno award-winning songwriters Marc Jordan (right of centre) and Ian Thomas (centre). U of T Scarborough alumna, Christina Beharry (second from the right) and fourth-year music & theatre student, Eunillyne Lazado (third from the right) took part in the recording of Canada 150 inspired Sing It Together. (Picture by Michael Fisher, Fisher Media).

Two women with a connection to U of T Scarborough helped record a song of unity that will resound from coast-to-coast in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.

“Being asked to be involved in this project was such an honour because music plays a large part in my life, not only in my studies, but also in my social and personal life,” says Eunillyne Lazado, a fourth-year arts management, music & theatre student at U of T Scarborough. 

The anthem, titled Sing It Together, was commissioned by the Coalition for Music Education in Canada (CMEC) and will debut at this year’s Music Monday, an annual event that brings together thousands of Canadians across the country to celebrate the power of music in our lives.

Since 2005, CMEC’s features a special anthem on the first Monday in May. Communities around the country learn the anthem and it is showcased at a live-streamed event. This year’s anchor showcase takes place in Ottawa and for U of T Scarborough alum Christina Beharry, the energy surrounding Canada’s sesquicentennial works well with the message of Music Monday.  

“Music Monday is a day of celebrating music and music education,” says Beharry (BSc., 2015).

Juno award-winning songwriters, Marc Jordan and Ian Thomas, co-wrote the song, while Nunavik throat singers, Metis string players and Youth4Music ambassadors helped made up the diverse set of musicians who met to record the song over three days this past December.

Lazado and Beharry are both part of Youth4Music Toronto (Y4M), a student-led, youth leadership group that was also founded by Coalition for Music Education in Canada director, Holly Nimmons.

“The youth started a plan and drafted a manifesto for 'learning, creating, making and valuing music in Canada,’” says Nimmons. “A crucial part of the Coalition's work is to help engage young people who are passionate about music.”

Lazado applauds the music advocacy goals of CMEC’s Music Monday. For her, music awareness is especially important in the wake of funding cuts to the arts.

“Music is not seen as an important area of study by many, when it should be something as important and valuable as other fields of study,” she says.

Although music advocacy plays an important role for Beharry, she hopes conversations about its important role in society specifically can bring greater attention to its overall value.

“There’s this idea that we’re always fighting to save music,” says Beharry.  “There’s almost a slight desperation to that because people are always concerned that we’re losing music education in place of other, supposedly, more valued subjects.”

Beharry graduated from U of T Scarborough in 2015 with a psychology degree, but every elective she took was in music. Today her research is focused on connections between music and autism.  She hopes celebrations like Music Monday become more thought of as opportunities to appreciate the power of music.

“I‘d like it to be where we don’t have to fight for music anymore. It’s just a given that it’s something there, but we want to have a special day to celebrate it,” she says.

“Music is one of the most communal activities that I know of … it brings together so many people from all walks of life in meaningful ways.”

For now, Lazado says music can be supported by starting conversations about its value. To record Sing It Together with musicians from around the country, it’s just one way of emphasizing the collaborative nature of music.

On May 1, U of T Scarborough students can participate in the campus Music Monday event, with the main concert running from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The Sing It Together music video recording, translations and arrangements can be found at www.musicmonday.ca.

 

 




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