Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The rain let up, and for a brief morning, the sun peaked through the clouds to join the symphony of sound at the Scugog Carrying Place as Grade 6 students from Dr. C.F. Cannon played a collection of traditional aboriginal songs at one of Oshawa’s most significant landmarks of First Nation’s history.
Led by music teacher Kathleen Beatty, the group of students played hand drums (purchased through a donation from the Alpha Delta Kappa, Tau Chapter), xylophones and traditional indigenous flutes.
The mini-concert was attended by several members of Oshawa city council and Mayor John Henry, who volunteered to take part in the drumming. Grant Karcich, author of the book The Scugog Carrying Place about the very trail used by the First Nations peoples of Oshawa’s history when moving between Lake Ontario and Lake Scugog, was also in attendance.
Beatty says it was Karcich’s book, given to her by her colleague Deanna Fry, a former aboriginal facilitator with the Durham District School Board, that inspired her to get her students more immersed in the First Nation’s history in the first place.
“It gives them a life experience that will follow them into adulthood by looking at the rich cultural history of where they live,” Beatty says.
The music program was also helped along by a $5,000 grant from the Musicounts Band Aid Program. The Toronto-based organization provides music instruments in grants to school music programs that need the additions in order to survive. Beatty says the grant helped her purchased nearly 20 instruments for the programs, including the xylophones used in the mini-concert on June 28.
Additional funds were also raised by the school in order to purchase the thirty native indigenous flutes used in the performance.