Sistema Global

We have recently joined the Sistema Global family and would like to thank them for all of the support they have provided so far.

Sistema Global is a network that connects, encourages, and inspires El Sistema teachers and leaders everywhere.   Their site provides learning tools and provides up-to-date information about the El Sistema model for long term public health and wellness, both physical and mental.


An Early Present

We are feeling extremely privileged and fortunate at The Big Sound these days.  We held our very first concert for a small group consisting mostly of parents and a few supporters on December 20th.  We could not have been more impressed with what these young people accomplished in 10 short weeks.   The concert consisted of 3 string selections and 5 choral pieces that featured not one, not two, but three part harmonies!!

A Big Sound shout out to Nancy Stewart for her amazing donation of over 80 pieces of choral music.

Also, a HUGE THANKS to Robin and Ann-Marie for their hard work in pulling this all together.

This is how we work!

Although social change is the primary objective, the pursuit of musical excellence is equally important.  One happens through the other, and neither is prioritized at the expense of the other.  It is through the ensemble,  orchestra or choral, that this magic happens.



Today we are thinking about commitment.  As our friends at the Big Noise in Scotland have noted: “the size, scale and rate of positive social change are difficult concepts to quantify but it is more likely that sustained positive social impacts will occur when the social regeneration agency, programme or intervention is embedded within the target community for the long term. Ideally social interventions would seek to be a permanent, visible and stable part of community life. The long-term commitment of a high quality and effective intervention is likely to engender trust and recognition as well as a positive reputation with the community.”

As we engage in our second round of raising funds to sustain this program, we are encouraged by the results we are seeing already, but cognizant of the need to work ever harder to secure sufficient funding to allow us to expand the program next year.

Please think of us if you make donations to charities as part of your seasonal giving.

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