When Jevon Hills envisioned forming a brass band, he wanted to approach it from a place of remembering what he loves about music.  How it makes people feel.  How it connects us with great people.  How it can help us navigate difficult times.  Music is a universal language that speaks directly to our emotions and our experiences.  Is it any wonder that the studying of music is any less magical?

Music education goes far beyond learning the theory and the instruments.  It allows us to discover who we are, explore unique ways of expressing ourselves, and to transcend our fears – all while connecting us with our community.  For these, and many other reasons, LBJB is thrilled to have our first Album Release Party for our EP ‘Distanced & Personal’ include an opportunity to raise funds in support of PhilKids, Calgary Philharmonic’s music education program.  This visionary program empowers kids through music who otherwise wouldn’t have access to such artistic programs.

No one knows the importance of young music education more than Heather Wootton who has been involved with PhilKids since its inception.  Coming from a musical family, when Heather found the French Horn in grade 7 “…that’s when the barriers came down!  Playing music made me feel like I was involved with my whole self – like I was vibrating from the inside out – not living on the surface anymore….  Things opened up for me. I think the world opened up in a way!”  Studying music and sciences equally, music literally resonated with Heather so much that she chose to study music, got her first job at her very first audition, travelled the world, and hasn’t looked back since.

Heather came to Calgary in 1993 expecting a 1-year contract playing as a sabbatical replacement.  We loved her so much we wouldn’t let her go back, and she now calls Calgary, and her place in the horn section at the CPO, her home.

Inspired by the concept of music as social change, Heather was chair of CORE (the community outreach and education committee) when Judith Kilbourne approached the CPO with the vision of providing a Sistema-inspired after school children’s program for underserved children.  This program was to be educational, aspirational, and facilitated by professional musicians.  In 2016 the PhilKids program was launched.

“PhilKids is not a conservatory program,” Heather adds.  “It takes a special kind of musician to work with this program.  It’s about more than just music, it’s about the whole person.  We really care about the kids and their accomplishments – the way they incorporate this work and express their learnings into the rest of their lives.”

With this criterion, it doesn’t surprise those of us in LBJB that 2 of our players, Andrew and Mark, joined their father Richard Scholz in teaching with this program the first year it launched!  Richard is still a teaching artist and Mark is so passionate about PhilKids that he is currently a Program Coordinator with them.

As Heather states, “It’s important – for so many reasons.  It has so much potential to do so much good.”  We can’t agree more.

 To support, you can join us at our Album Release Party on February 20th at the Ironwood by reserving your tickets https://ironwoodstage.ca/contact/  or immediately support PhilKids by directly donating online and noting that your donation is ‘in honour of PhilKids.’ https://calgaryphil.com/support/make-a-donation/

Any donation over $20 will generate a tax receipt.