Musician-turned-politician Joe Keithley kicked off the Harmony for All musical instrument loan program in Burnaby, B.C. in 2019, but it will take it to the next level in April.
Keithley said nearly 400 instruments were accumulated over two 2021 collections. The program also includes lessons and has received financial support from the City of Burnaby and the Burnaby Firefighters’ Charity Society.
Keithley started playing drums at the age of 11 and then moved on to guitar and vocals for an early punk band called The Skulls in 1977, before forming DOA a year later. Keithley has remained the leader and the only original member of the pioneering punk band ever since, while a large number of musicians have passed through to support him over the years.
“I was far from the most popular person in my high school, but when I started playing music I started to make new friends,” Keithley told Samaritan of the importance of music in adolescence.
Expressing yourself through music can bring happiness and a sense of fulfillment, but many people cannot afford to buy or rent instruments and pay for lessons. Harmony for All was created to ensure that residents of Burnaby have the opportunity to explore their musical talents, which can also help them connect with others.
“The thing with music is that it can cross cultural barriers,” Keithley said. “We live in a time where there is a lot of prejudice and a lot of hate. But the only thing everyone loves, whether they play it or not, or sing, is the music. It is the universal language.
Talk-Action = 0 is the title of a 2010 DOA album and a 2011 Keithley book, and it reflects his longtime activism. The DOA has participated in numerous peace and environment rallies, and Keithley ran for the Green Party three times in the BC provincial election before being elected to Burnaby City Council in the municipal election. from 2018.
Keithley said he initially “encountered some resistance from council members” when he first suggested that Harmony for All become a municipal program in 2019. organization involved.
Meetings were held with local music teachers in early 2020 to involve the local school system, but the pandemic put plans on hold before momentum picked up last fall.
Burnaby City Council agreed in November to contribute $ 72,000 to establish Harmony for All as a city-run program. That same month, the Burnaby Firefighters Charitable Society pledged $ 10,000 and pledged an additional $ 10,000 each year for the next 10 years.
This money will be used to help pay for lessons and any additional instruments or renovations that may be required.
There are no strict guidelines for loaning instruments, according to Keithley, and the goal is to provide assistance to anyone who wants it.
“If someone introduces himself, like a music teacher, parent, older brother, or family friend, and he says’ I think so-and-so has a talent for playing the piano, but he doesn’t ‘has no piano,’ ”Keithley said Harmony for All can help.
“There are also no settings on the style of music,” he added. “It can be anything from bhangra and electronics to hip-hop, punk rock and trance.”
Keithley said he was not very familiar with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the JUNO Awards. MusiAccount – a charity that makes music education inclusive, sustainable and accessible for young people across Canada by providing musical instruments, equipment and resources – and was unable to compare it- ci and Harmony for All.
Harmony for All will accept and distribute all kinds of instruments and Keithley has said he will even accept DJ gear, although none has been donated so far. People can receive a tax receipt for the value of their donation of instruments.
Vancouver-area instrument retailer Tom Lee Music had previously received photos, descriptions and serial numbers of instruments and would provide estimates of the value of the donation. Harmony for All will now try to do this internally, but seek outside help if needed.
Keithley said some people are happy to donate their instruments without receiving a tax receipt.
The first lessons for instrument recipients are expected to begin in April if COVID-19 does not cause more delays at Harmony for All than it has already in the past two years.
One of the objectives is for the students to participate in musical performances, individually or in groups, some professional musicians also taking part alongside them in showcases to showcase the talents of the participants of Harmony for All.
While it is too early for details to be available, Harmony for All will also introduce low-cost or no-cost proximity music programs to organizations that serve under-represented populations. The final phase of the program will provide grants to low-income residents to help pay for the City of Burnaby’s music programs and lessons.