For the first time ever, Sistema Toronto joined forces with rock band Arcade Fire to perform at this year's 2022 Juno Awards in Toronto on Sunday night. The students, alongside Arcade Fire, performed Unconditional I (Lookout Kid) from their critically acclaimed 2022 album “We” at Budweiser stage in Toronto during the national broadcast. Students worked in collaboration with Joy Lapps-Lewis on Steel Pans in preparation for Sistema's first in-person performance since March 2020. Sistema Toronto is a registered charity founded to provide free music education to young people in underserved communities.
Christie Gray, Executive Director, Sistema Toronto: “Performing with Arcade Fire and working with Joy Lapps-Lewis is a dream come true for our students and our organization. After two years of isolation and online learning, we are thrilled to perform with Arcade Fire at the JUNO Awards on Budweiser stage this weekend! We are so proud of the dedication and resilience our students have shown over the years. Sistema Toronto is also so grateful for our talented teaching artists and our many donors and supporters for their crucial role in bringing the students to this monumental stage in their performance abilities.“
Sistema Toronto works with 300+ children and their families from neighbourhoods in Toronto with some of the city’s highest child poverty rates – Jane-Finch, East Scarborough, Lambton Park, and Parkdale. Students work together for ten hours per week to learn orchestral instruments (violin, viola, cello, double bass), percussion, and choir while developing important life skills like confidence, empathy, and self-advocacy. Participants receive instruction with professional musicians, instruments to learn on, performance opportunities, and a daily nutritious snack at no cost to participants’ families. Sistema Toronto students face a variety of challenges. Many are newcomers to Canada, others are on the autism spectrum, and some have experienced trauma. The program is designed to equip kids living on the margins with the skills they need to escape generational poverty and succeed in all areas of life. For more information, visit www.sistema-toronto.ca.
Arcade Fire: Arcade Fire is a Grammy Award-winning Canadian indie rock band from Montreal, Quebec consisting of husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, along with Win's younger brother William Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara. The band's music also incorporates elements of electronic music, post-punk revival and baroque pop. The group just announced its first tour since 2018 on the heels of their 6th studio album “We”. https://www.arcadefire.com/
Joy Lapps-Lewis: Internationally lauded artist and composer Joy Lapps Joy has issued five independent albums: How Great Thou Art (2004), Make a Joyful Noise (2006), It’s Christmas Time (2007), Morning Sunrise (2014) and forthcoming release Girl In The Yard (2022). Her repertoire teems with Afro-Caribbean- and Afro-Brazilian-inspired rhythmic and harmonic patterns, garlands of melody and plenty of space for spontaneity, and a fondness for hit song forms and reimagined choirs emerges frequently in her compositions. https://joy-lapps.squarespace.com/about