Recipe for eternal youth: children and music

A joyful concert will take place at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul this month.

More than 25 children between 3 and 14 who attend music classes at the Tyndale St. Georges Community Centre will share the stage with renowned Montreal jazz pianist Oliver Jones in a program of gospel, spirituals, jazz and classical music.

The concert will benefit the Reach Out With Music program, said Françoise Morin-Lyons, a founding member of I Musici and a violinist who runs the program.

“All profits are going for a summer performing arts day camp at the church.”

Drawing on her experience teaching children in Kahnawake, Morin-Lyons started Reach Out With Music with two fellow parishioners.

The music classes began last year with four kids and quickly blossomed into a choir of 30.

“Last spring we put out an appeal to the church community for instruments, whatever people had stored in their attic,” Morin-Lyons said.

The keyboards, violins and upright piano were given to families of the children in the Tyndale community. At the concert, the children will sing and play on three donated violins, one cello and two guitars.

Jones has close ties to Tyndale St. Georges, having had school friends who attended the community centre.

“It was a refuge for them,” Jones recalled. “It serviced the whole community.”

The centre recently celebrated its 85th year and Jones was there as honorary patron.

The kids are hard at work preparing their songs, while Jones, 78, is winding down from a whirlwind touring schedule with his trio, having played 16 concerts in the last month.

But he is looking forward to the concert. He knows how important music can be for kids.

“I was extremely shy as a youngster and the only thing that felt comfortable was being behind a piano.”

He has performed with youth before, at Ottawa’s Winterlude on the Rideau Canal and at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

“Anything that involves children is very important to me. Every year I try to do as many things as I can to try to give back to the community, so this is a wonderful opportunity.”

Oliver Jones and the children of Tyndale St. Georges will perform Saturday, November 17, at 7pm at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, on Sherbrooke, corner Bishop.

Tickets for the concert are $50 ($35 for 18 and under). 514-842-3431,

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