Making string playing more comfortable is a worthy goal, but it’s only part of the Kun story. Our success in achieving it enables us to support musicians in other ways, through scholarships, sponsorships, and donations.
On the local stage, Kun supports Ottawa’s esteemed Chamberfest, where our President, Marina Kun, was a founding board member. Each year we sponsor several Chamberfest concerts, and attend many more.
Kun supports Young String Performers of Ottawa and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. We also offer annual scholarships to foreign students at Ottawa University’s Faculty of Music.
Nationally, Marina Kun sits on the board of the National Youth Orchestra and Suzuki Stellae Boreales, which Kun supports. Kun is also a sponsor of the Banff International String Quartet Competition, and further afield, the company has sponsored the Palestine Youth Orchestra, Venezuela’s El Sistema and the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica.
Here are more detailed profiles of some of the organisations we assist, along with links to their websites.
OrKidstra is a social development program that empowers kids from under-served communities by teaching important life skills – such as teamwork, commitment, respect and pride in achievement – through the universal language of music. We do this by providing children from low-income families with free instruments and music lessons, which gives them the chance to develop these skills through playing and singing together.
With the passionate belief in the transformative power of music, OrKidstra started with 27 children in 2007 and now includes more than 600 children, ages 5 to 18, from 42 linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Our vision is a future where all children and youth have the opportunity to discover their voice and build their potential through music.
Community Music Schools of Toronto
Community Music Schools of Toronto is a registered charity that gives children and youth a rich and rewarding music and social education, by removing the financial obstacle. Their students have access to some of Toronto’s best music teachers and a vast array of musical instruments and options.
Their students’ study everything from classical piano, strings, voice, brass, wind and percussion to electronic music, songwriting and recording. They make music with fellow students, faculty and even the odd celebrity and perform all over the city. We also offer countless leadership opportunities through our Youth Committee and mentorship programs and provide employment experience for junior counsellors at our summer music camps.
In addition to bringing music to kids in Regent Park and Jane Finch we are also giving a music education to Indigenous students at Wandering Spirit School and young newcomers to Canada.
Sistema Winnipeg was founded in 2011 and serves youth in Winnipeg, Manitoba in what are considered at-risk communities. These communities have the fewest resources but some of the greatest needs, and Sistema Winnipeg aims to help inspire youth to make a difference in their world and communities.
The program is a unique partnership between the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO), Seven Oaks School Division (SOSD) and Winnipeg School Division (WSD), and provides music education to children for 2-hours after every school day throughout the entire school year (Sept – June). Students are provided an instrument, a nutritious snack, a safe space to learn, grow, and flourish where they make friends and memories to last a lifetime – all at no cost to families!
Currently, Sistema Winnipeg serves up to 150 children from grades 1-12 at two main school communities: Elwick Community School (SOSD) and King Edward Community School (WSD), along with satellite instruction provided weekly at with Isaac Newton School (WSD) and St. John’s High School (WSD).
Sistema New Brunswick
The goal of Sistema New Brunswick is great music, but it is much more than that… it is about the social development of children who otherwise might not have opportunity.Through music and the orchestra, children learn focus, discipline, respect and teamwork, values that are essential for the orchestra to work, but also essential for a successful life. As the children advance in their skill, they gain the pride and confidence that comes from achievement. Music and the orchestra become powerful tools to help children reach their full potential.
Through Sistema NB, the children have the chance to concentrate on something that inspires them, that is full of beauty, and that enriches their spirit. Now in its 13th year, Sistema NB has nine orchestra centers in the province, in urban and rural communities, operating in English and French and engaging First Nations children and newcomers to Canada. More than 1,000 children participate, 5 days/week, 3 hours/day after school. In March 2015 the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra was honored with the Prime Minister’s Award for Social Innovation for the work and leadership of Sistema NB in Canada.
Music Fund works in partnership with music schools in developing countries and conflict areas.
Music Fund collects musical instruments, has them restored and then distributes them to its partners. MF also organizes high-quality workshops, internships and training programmes to learn how to tune, repair and maintain music instruments, organized in the partner music schools in the South and in Europe. MF also opened and equipped repair workshops in some of its partner schools.
Black Violin Foundation
The Black Violin Foundation is a non profit organization dedicated to empowering youth by working with them in their communities to provide access to quality music programs that encourage creativity. Our long term goal is to empower youth to color outside of the lines and push the boundaries of music through innovation.
BVF is an extension of the vision of Kev Marcus & Wil Baptiste. As young musicians during school they would study classical compositions, but after school they would play Tupac, Wu-tang and whatever else was hot at the time. It is the blending of genres fused with their classical training that gives Black Violin their unique sound. Our mission at BVF is to help up and coming musicians foster creativity in order to make music in a way it’s never been made before.
The Nucleo Project
The Nucleo Project was founded in 2013 to offer ensemble-based musical opportunities to children and young people in North Kensington. We are part of the global El Sistema movement, which began in Venezuela in 1975.
A nucleo is a local centre of musical activity at the heart of its community, which is what our young musicians are building for our local area. The Nucleo Project
is open to any child who wishes to join our family. All students are able to participate free of charge.
Our students commit to an intensive and rigorous programme (children aged 7+ attend at least four sessions a week). The immersive schedule fosters rapid progress and high achievement, as well as strong bonds within the community. We hope to make a truly transformative difference in our young musicians’ day to day lives.
The Makers’ Forum
The Makers’ Forum is a non-profit organization whose main mission is to support contemporary violin makers and bow makers in the production of fine musical instruments and bows.
By fostering links between instrument makers, the general public and musicians, the organization wants to promote and help to sell the work of contemporary instruments and bow makers. Also, considering that the profession cannot exist without musicians, the Makers’ Forum wants to embrace its social role in developing the presence of music in schools on every level, and supporting the future generations of professional musicians.
YONA – Sistema
Youth Orchestra of Northern Alberta – Sistema (YONA-Sistema) is a program offered by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Modelled on Venezuela’s El Sistema project, YONA uses music for social change and teaches the values of unity, harmony, and mutual compassion.
Five days a week, 75 students receive group instrument lessons, led by qualified teachers, at no cost to their families and are then bussed safely home.
Each year, another group of students participates in a “YONA Explorers” program, which introduced the YONA philosophy, before joining the full program.
YONA is unique among both after-school and music programs in that it provides holistic care for all students, encompassing nutrition, free play, academic support, interpersonal skill support, and expressive arts education alongside daily music instruction during the “critical” after-school hours.
Jerusalemite Youth Cultural Forum
The Jerusalemite Youth Cultural Forum (JYCF) was conceived by a group of young, educated Jerusalemites committed to safeguarding and celebrating Palestinian culture.
The JYCF has responded to the complex challenges faced by young Palestinians in East Jerusalem through an ambitious range of arts programs and activities aimed at boys and girls alike. It offers young Jerusalemites the opportunity to learn about and participate in the cultural traditions of their people. It encourages innovation, and helps develop the talent and artistic skill of its participants, alongside their capacity for joyful collaboration. And it presents seminars, lectures, concerts and artistic and educational workshops to the public at large.