Giving Tuesday – an opportunity to contribute to your community

November 27 is Giving Tuesday.  Giving Tuesday has become a world wide movement encouraging people to make charitable gifts to worthwhile charities of their choice.  Whether it be a financial donation or a pledge to get involved as a volunteer, it’s a great way to give back.

In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, we ask you to consider making a donation to El Sistema Grey Bruce – The Big Sound.

Since The Big Sound extends no monetary costs/fees to its participants and their families, it’s success is totally reliant upon the community’s support.

There are many ways to help The Big Sound on November 27, 2018.  You can donate via CanadaHelps, you can donate an instrument, or you can volunteer.  Here are some examples of the costs to run this program:

$3500 – the cost for one child for an entire year

$2000 – instruments for a trio: violin, viola, and cello

$1000 – one cello

$500 – one violin or viola

$250 – sheet music for the children

$100 – strings for four violins

$192– a healthy snack for one child every day during the school year

Inclement Weather Days

It’s that time of year again and bus cancellations will soon be upon us.  The following describes the conditions when The Big Sound will be cancelled at Hillcrest.  If you have any questions, please send us an email.

Since only one bus affecting Hillcrest is cancelled, the program will operate today, November 21st!


Inclement Weather Protocol

The Big Sound intends to operate every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday throughout the school year, however, the weather in Grey & Bruce Counties can occasionally be disruptive.

If one or more of the following conditions arise, that result in substantially diminished attendance at Hillcrest Elementary School, The Big Sound program will be cancelled for the day:

If the program is cancelled, The Big Sound will by 1:00 p.m. on the day in question:

  • Send an email to all parents
  • post notices on its website and Facebook pages
  • and advise local radio stations that the program is cancelled.

Overheard at The Big Sound

Sometimes one can’t but overhear what people say.  Here’s a couple of our recent favourites.

“Playing the violin is my destiny.”

“Here’s how I remember the string note names: Every Alpaca Deserves Grapes.”

Our paper violins are nearing completion!

Today we added the tailpieces, including strings, and bridges to the violins.  Everyone has done a truly amazing job not only constructing, but also painting their violins, learning the parts, and how challenging they can be to build.  These are true works of art.  Everyone can be proud of their perseverance, patience, and accomplishments.  Thanks again to the Tom Thomson Gallery for hosting us.  @tomthomsonartgallery

Singing happens on Wednesdays

At The Big Sound we appreciate that learning to play the violin is hard work.  It is not easy to produce the proper tone, you have to be very precise.  Singing is another way to make music.  Some think it is easy, but it also takes concentration to keep the right rhythm and pitch, especially when you are singing in parts.

When you have a great song to sing, however, the fun makes the work easy!


It’s more than music!

The violin is one of the most difficult instruments to learn how to play.  Not only is it challenging to hold in the correct position when you play, it also lacks frets to guide you where to place your fingers. 

Here, Audrey demonstrates good posture and concentration as she gets ready to start using her fingers.  Way to go Audrey!!! 

Look at all those straight backs and excellent posture!

Thanks MusiCounts @MusiCounts @TDCanada @YamahaCanMusic @LongMcQuade for supporting The Big Sound.

Music is great, but art is too!

Today was Day 2 of creating our paper violins at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery  @tomthomsonartgallery.

Overheard on the way to the gallery:

Q:  “Why are we going here to make our violins?”

A:  “Because the gallery is where art is celebrated and art is made.”

Making your own violin poses a number of challenges, but persistence, innovation, and team work helped the students take their creations to the next level.

Every artist needs some inspiration, so the Tom graciously let us tour the gallery in small groups while the paint and/or glue was drying.  Today we were fortunate to take in Carl Beam: Dreaming Ourselves as Each Other: Guest Curator Anong Beam and a several wonderful pieces from the gallery’s permanent collection through the Community Curators Select program.

Snack Time

Nutrition is an essential part of life.  After a long day at school, The Big Sound students are tired and hungry, so before they start their work at The Big Sound, a break and a healthy snack are in order.

Thanks to the financial support of the United Way Bruce Grey @Unitedwaybrucegrey and the students of the Culinary Arts Program at Owen Sound District Secondary School, TBS students receive a healthy snack every day before the program.

“Humm … that looks good Audrey.”

Making our paper instruments.

There is a long history in Sistema inspired groups of making paper violins. Initially, there weren’t enough instruments to go around. Now, the process continues, but for different reasons. By investing their time and energy and working together to create art, the students learn how fragile their instruments are, they learn to respect and care for them, and they come to realize that they are part of something larger.

Thanks to the Tom Thomson Art Gallery @tomthomsonartgallery for hosting us.  What a terrific space to create.

It is also a lot of fun!!


 Putting the pieces together is hard work,

 but painting is fun, and

 much to our surprise, jumping is also an integral part of building a violin!