Music students perform PTSD tribute concert with full orchestra

Senior music students from Cardinal Carter Catholic High School in Aurora recently performed their original songs with the Kitchener Waterloo Orchestra. The concert took place in February at the Knox Presbyterian Church in Kitchener Waterloo. It was a tribute concert for people suffering from with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

The music students have been preparing for this tribute concert for over a year. It began as a project to examine ways music and songwriting can connect communities and be used as a voice for important causes, such as raising awareness for PTSD.

Over the past year, the students were inspired by guest speakers who visited the school and shared personal experiences including Vince Savoia, Founder and Executive Director of The Tema Conter Memorial Trust; Don Dempsey, a WWII Veteran; and Carol Collier, a mother who lost her son who was serving in Afghanistan. In February, the music students attended a panel discussion and listened to York Regional Police Constable Jon Carson and several others talk about how PTSD has affected their lives.

After listening to the stories of several community members, the students began songwriting and composition projects that aimed to give back to the community based on the stories they heard. In June of 2014, the students performed a concert of entirely original music that helped to raise awareness of PTSD including a song entitled, “Heroes are Human,” which was written by Kayla Marchione and Joann Sparkes. Following the June 2014 performance, the Cardinal Carter music students were asked to perform at several fire halls and police stations across the Greater Toronto Area.

Part of this project included writing a grant with the KW Chamber Orchestra through the KW Community Fund, which enabled the group to raise money in order to hire an orchestrator to arrange their works for the full orchestra, which marked a finale for this project. However, the students’ work and music will live on, as the students will be recording their songs at a professional recording studio so they can release an album later this spring.  These songs are part of what the group has called, The Believe Project.