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Boys trumpeting at Carleton

OrKidstra duo heralds an important occasion!


On March 29th, Carleton University conferred on El Sistema founder Dr. José Antonio Abreu an honorary degree for his "outstanding contribution to the advancement of underprivileged youth through music education." The El Sistema program now involves over 400,000 children and young people across Venezuela and has inspired programs -- like OrKidstra -- around the world.


Two of OrKidstra's children provided the trumpet fanfare for the ceremony and Tina Fedeski, OrKidstra's Executive Director, gave a moving introduction and tribute to Dr. Abreu. Below, a slide of Dr. Abreu provides the backdrop for a performance by the OrKidstra String Quintet with the Simón Bolívar String Quartet, comprised of world-class musicians who were immersed in El Sistema from a very young age.Thanks to Dr. James Wright and Carleton University for inviting Tina and OrKidstra to be part of this impressive event! Video of ceremony and transcript of Dr. Abreu's speech


4 Kids and SB quartet at Carleton 

This was the beginning of an action-packed, end-of-March weekend built around the Ottawa residency of the Simón Bolívar String Quartet, hosted collaboratively by the Ottawa Chamber Music Society and The Leading Note Foundation.

Laurence Wall

The weekend included a day-long symposium on the impact of music programs on the social and intellectual development of children. Attended by 80 community leaders and educators, the symposium featured international speakers, school board officials, music educators and the MPP for Ottawa-Centre. A special thank you to CBC Radio One broadcaster Laurence Wall for moderating! Highlights / Full symposium report 


The weekend also featured:

  • A morning at the music department of the University of Ottawa, including: presentations by three music students on the impact of mentoring with OrKidstra on the quality of their university education; and a round table on the community benefits of El Sistema programs. Thank you, University of Ottawa and Stéphane Lemelin!  Student presentations / round table summary
  • A remarkable concert in which the OrKidstra Kids and the Simón Bolívar String Quartet performed the premiere of Nicholas Piper's new work "Thaw", commissioned by The Leading Note Foundation and financed through an Ontario Arts Council grant.

This piece was written to allow every child, at every skill level, to participate. Children, positioned in the surrounding balconies, created a 'surround sound' effect, with their voices and instruments complementing the Quartet and full OrKidstra ensemble onstage. 

Girl singing in balcony 















The rousing concert involved KidPlayers, KidSingers and KiddlyWinks shown in the photos below.


Nearly 400 people (and not only parents!) came out for the concert which concluded with a sustained standing ovation.

 Standing Ovation


Empowering kids...




"I think music can really change your life. Since joining OrKidstra, I feel like I've gained intelligence that I can use for other things I might come across. If I wasn't part of OrKidstra I probably wouldn't be this organized and I probably wouldn't be doing to well at school. Being part of OrKidstra means that I am committed to something and that makes me more committed to doing school work."




Yoshuna,15, joined OrKidstra four years ago. She plays violin, sings in the Chamber and Senior choirs and was recipient of a scholarship to the Ottawa Children's Choir.


Building community... 
Our mentors
OrKidstra's mentorship program is one of the pillars of its community building philosophy. Young people who've had the benefit of music instruction give back by mentoring younger children.


One of OrKidstra's mentors is Ainsleigh Hennig,18. A Grade 12 student at Colonel By Secondary School, she has been working each week for the last two years with the intermediate and senior strings. Ainsleigh sees the positive difference music is making in the kids' lives. "I love music and playing the violin, and passing this love on to other kids is one of my favourite things to do."


Our supporters


Support for OrKidstra comes in many forms and from a variety of sources. A few examples:
GH Gallery


In February the Gordon Harrison Gallery invited a group of KidPlayers to perform during a vernissage, to raise OrKidstra's profile (and some funds as well!). 








Phil Emond,

Gordon Harrison Gallery






This winter the Viennese Opera Ball not only gave two of our Kids the chance to participate in the Ball's opening fanfare, but also donated some of the proceeds from the event to OrKidstra.









On the international front, visiting conductor and El Sistema alumnus Diego Matheuz, in Ottawa for a performance of Carmina Burana with the NAC Orchestra, found the time to share his conducting talents -- and some autographs -- with the KidPlayers and KidSingers.



tina and margaret_award






Speaking of building community, our own Tina Fedeski and Margaret Tobolowska, OrKidstra's Executive Director and Artistic Director, were among those recognized with a Leading Women/Leading Girls, Building Communities award by Ottawa Centre's MPP Yasir Naqvi in March of this year.  


Mark your calendar

Mark your calendar now for OrKidstra's end-of-year concert!


Thursday, June 21,  5:00 p.m. 

Bronson Centre

211 Bronson Avenue

The Leading Note Foundation would like to thank the following corporate, public sector and local business supporters!

Community Foundation logo

City of Ottawa logo Trillium logo

Leading Note Store logoViennese Opera Ball


Xquisit logo




And heartfelt thanks to our faithful circle of 
OrKidstra Friends


OrKidstra has experienced remarkable success, but success brings its own challenges! Though staff and volunteers work hard to stretch each and every dollar, demand for programs is exceeding current resources. We need your support more than ever.
Please play your part, and spread the word


canadahelps.org    613-859-3559   www.orkidstra.ca






Teach children the beauty of music, 
and music will teach them the beauty of life 
Maestro José Antonio Abreu, Founder of the El Sistema orchestral program
                     for Venezuelan children and youth
Leading Note Footer - Orkidstra