Great Canadians Join Together to Launch the Ontario Leg of Strings Across The Sky’s (SATS) Cross-Canada Fiddle Project

October 2nd, 2003

October 4th, 2003. The media is invited to join Doris McCarthy, C.M. and other distinguished Canadians for an Apple Pie Bake-Off, Saturday, October 4th between 2 and 4:30 at Fool’s Paradise, McCarthy’s heritage home and studio located at # 1 – Meadowcliffe Drive, Scarborough. The Bake-Off is a musical event designed to launch the remarkable tour of Andrea Hansen, C.M. as she sets out to volunteer her considerable talent, teaching the lively art of fiddling to approximately 70 Aboriginal youth in five remote Northern Ontario communities. Leslie Knowles, violinist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Jerry Cingolani, a well-known accordionist, will join Hansen on the tour. This tour marks the first time SATS has worked south of the Territories.

Youth in Northern Ontario will have an opportunity to learn to play the fiddle (or perfect current skills) when SATS Music Director, Andrea Hansen, brings her special brand of teaching to their communities this fall between October 7th and November 22nd. Schools, band councils and service agencies have organized classes of 10 to 15 students. After 4 days of fiddle studies, students will host a community concert. In November, students from the areas surrounding Moose Factory, Kenora and Sioux Lookout will travel to Thunder Bay to perform with The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra November 21,22 2003.

Hansen travels with student violins and will donate the instruments to the communities involved after the November 22nd performance. SATS accepts donated fiddles and transports them to communities to create fiddle libraries for student use. Toronto violin restorers, George Heinl and Company, donate their time repairing donated violins for SATS’ student use.

This kick-off event is hosted by Adventure Canada, expedition-style tour operators, and will be attended by many of their clients who support positive cultural, economic and environmental initiatives in the North. In recent years, both McCarthy and Hansen have staffed Adventure Canada tours to the High Arctic. As resource staff, both artists have shared their passion and particular vision of the Arctic with fellow travellers.

Andrea Hansen, C.M. is a retired violinist from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and co-founder and Music Director of SATS. Since 1988, Ms. Hansen has been volunteering her talent teaching youth to fiddle in the High Arctic (a fading art in the 1980s that is successfully being re-introduced by SATS). SATS teaching programs operate in 17 High Arctic communities and the organization has transported 150 donated violins to the north. In the spring of 2004 SATS students will perform with western symphonies partnering with SATS in The Cross-Canada Fiddle Project. Please visit www.stringsacrossthesky.ca

Jerry Cingolani will accompany Hansen on the tour. Jerry has been principal of his own accordion school and an instrumental music educator for many years. He has adjudicated Music Festivals across Canada and the United States. Jerry has participated in several music camps in both the Eastern and Western Arctic. In May of 2000, Jerry joined Andrea in connecting string players from Scotland and the Western Arctic at a homecoming event in The Scottish Orkney Isles. In addition to being a featured soloist, Jerry has led his own band for years.

Leslie Knowles, first violin with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra will join the instructing team in Thunder Bay. Leslie’s TSO related activities include working with young string players through the TSO’s education department, and participation in the Adopt-a-Player Programme. Outside of the Toronto Symphony, Leslie is concertmaster of the Sinfony Players, the instrumental ensemble of the Mississauga Choral Society, and first violinist of the Riverdale String Quartet. Most recently Leslie was a volunteer instructor at the SATS Fiddle School in Yellowknife.

The Ontario Arts Council, Adventure Canada, DAC Group, The Ecolodge (Moose Factory), The Kenora Rotary, The Forest Inn (Sioux Lookout), The Valhalla Inn (Thunder Bay), The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and private individuals who believe “music does make a difference”, generously support the Ontario leg of The Cross-Canada Fiddle.

Refreshments will be served.

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