Disponible en anglais seulement

Craig Kielburger participates in a concert linking award winning choirs in Ottawa and St. John’s for the NAC Orchestra’s Atlantic Tour

When he walked into the Rehearsal Hall “B” at the National Arts Centre, two hundred young singers in Ottawa and one hundred members of the Shallaway Choir in St. John’s burst into applause. Craig Kielburger the co-founder of Free The Children was at the National Arts Centre to kick-off the Orchestra’s 12 day performance and education tour to Atlantic Canada.

“I had a speech impediment when I was young, so that’s why I joined the choir,” Kielburger explained to singers who were linked through broadband videoconference technology to sing in two cities at the same time.

As Newfoundland’s award-winning Shallaway choir sang “Heal the World”, Kielburger remarked that art and music have the ability to break down barriers between languages and people.

“I want you to think about the power of music and the power of compassion,” Kielburger told the young singers in both cities.

Kielburger and Free the Children have built 650 schools and  school rooms for children around the world. But before his team builds a new structure there is always music.

“When we come into a community, we’re always greeted in song. The Mother’s come and embrace us and the children sing traditional music. This is how we start, before we build, before we lay the first brick, we sing.” Kielburger spoke of the ability of music to raise people’s spirits and said music is always at the heart of great social change.

Martin Luther King knew the power of music, Kielburger noted, so did Nazi Germany, a regime that banned singing in concentration camps in an attempt to break the spirit of prisoners.

He urged the singers in Newfoundland and Ottawa to use music for social change.

“It was interesting,” said Rebecca Prowse, a 14 year old singer with The Ottawa Children’s Choir. “Young people can make a difference in the world.”

“Singing with a big group, you’re all so connected doing something you love. It’s very powerful,” said Karen Clement a 15 year old member of the Ottawa Children’s Choir.

“We went to Newfoundland a year ago and sang with Shallaway in person,” said Lexa Michaelides a 15 year old member of the Ottawa Children’s Choir. “It was nice to see them again, this time through technology. It really worked well.”