OTTAWA — On May 20, hundreds of students from 10 west end schools will have the opportunity to perform with Music Director Alexander Shelley and members of NAC Orchestra in a concert called Life Reflected in Ottawa’s West End at Woodroffe High school from 1p.m. to 2 p.m.

Who:  Alexander Shelley, Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Members of the National Arts Centre Orchestra (winds, brass and percussion),

Carol Todd advocate and educator in the fight for online safety of children,

Spoken word artist YAO,

Hundreds of students from 10 west end schools in Ottawa.

What:    Life Reflected in Ottawa’s West End (public concert with limited seating)

When:      Friday, May 20, at 1p.m. to 2 p.m.

Where:     Woodroffe High School, 2410 Georgina Dr, Ottawa, ON

This “NACO Remix” concert celebrates the cultural diversity of Ottawa’s west end and is also inspired by the themes featured in the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s Life Reflected, a groundbreaking, one-night performance premiering on May 19. Life Reflected celebrates the stories of four Canadian women — author Alice Munro, teen Amanda Todd, astronaut Roberta Bondar, and Mi’kmaw poet and elder Rita Joe — through music, film, photography, graphic design, and the written word.

Students have spent the past six weeks working with local artists to create new compositions that echo some of the themes featured in Life Reflected — childhood memory, indigenous wisdom, cyber-bullying, and fearless exploration. In addition to these new compositions, students have also created a spoken word piece, a dance video and visual artwork.

Carol Todd, an advocate and educator who works to spread her daughter’s message of hope through The Amanda Todd Legacy, will attend Life Reflected in Ottawa’s West End and speak to students at Woodroffe High School about cyber-bullying. 

Carol’s daughter, Amanda Todd tragically took her life on October 10, 2012 after suffering for years from cyber abuse, harassment and bullying at school. Amanda posted a poignant video on YouTube, using a series of flash cards, speaking out against bullying and sharing her story. The message of hope, empathy, tolerance she expressed in her video, has since caused a worldwide groundswell of support, and is now being used by educators and parents to support anti-bullying measures.

“Amanda loved music, and found her voice through music, art and multi-media,” says Carol Todd. “We believe this concert will inspire hope, and is a message about humanity and how we must treat each other to be better people.”  

This unique concert kicks-off a three-year arts education project called “NACO Remix.” The program is the first of its kind for the National Arts Centre Orchestra and aims to educate and inspire 2,500 students through direct, hands-on exposure to music.  

“One of the great joys of our life is music,” says Music Director Alexander Shelley. “It's an extraordinary privilege for me to launch such an inspiring community project. Music has a transformative power, and with programs like this, we can harness that power to raise social awareness on the issues directly impacting students in their community. I believe we can accomplish quite a lot,” he said.

The three-year project will involve many local artists, and a myriad of creative workshops that will celebrate the diversity of Ottawa’s west end community. Some of the artists involved this year are the NAC Orchestra’s Resident Artist in the Community Donnie Deacon, spoken word artist YAO, composers and teaching artists Kelly-Marie Murphy, Jesse Stewart, Liz Hanson and Terry Duncan, NAC Principal Youth and Family Conductor Alain Trudel, choral specialist Jackie Hawley, NAC Dance choreographer Sioned Watkins, Kristina Watt from 100 Watt Productions, and a dozen NAC Orchestra musicians.  All participating schools will receive a visit from an NAC Orchestra ensemble or instrumental coach and have opportunities to come to the National Arts Centre.

"Programs like ‘NACO Remix’ are tailored to the specific needs of the community, giving students the opportunity to develop their creativity. With the support of dedicated classroom teachers and local artists, students can celebrate their community and culture through the power of music," says Director, Music Education and Community Engagement, Genevieve Cimon.

"The NACO Remix project is an opportunity for us to forge a relationship with these students and their teachers, celebrate the talent in Ottawa’s West End, and explore how we can create meaningful partnerships over the next two years" says Alexander Shelley.

The NAC is grateful to the NAC Foundation and the Friends of the NAC Orchestra for supporting this special project.  We wish to acknowledge the City of Ottawa’s partnership as well as the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board for their contributions towards covering transportation costs.  And finally to the dedicated principals and teachers who are so supportive of their students’ involvement in this project.

More about the National Youth and Education Trust

The National Youth and Education Trust is the primary resource for youth and education funding at the National Arts Centre. Through the Trust, individual and corporate donors from all across the country help the NAC nurture and develop the creativity of young people in all regions across Canada and support the educators and artists who challenge and encourage them.



Andrea Ruttan

Communications Officer, NAC Orchestra
National Arts Centre
(613) 947-7000, ext. 335

Join our email list for the latest updates!