Some Surrey students met a local rocker and the son of a reggae icon at an event to announce $600,000 in grants under the MusiCounts program.
Award-winning singer/songwriter Dan Mangan was at Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom for the Sept. 18 event, as was Rohan Marley, son of Bob Marley.
Students from three schools in Surrey, including Forsythe Elementary and Princess Margaret and Tamanawis secondaries, had a chance to meet the musicians at the Band Aid grant program launch event for 2012-13.
To help MusiCounts purchase musical instruments for schools, House of Marley contributed $50,000 to the cause, with another $10,000 in funds coming from Music BC Charitable Foundation.
This year, schools across Canada will get a cut of $600,000 in Band Aid grants. Schools have until Nov. 16 to apply for a grant (either $5,000 or $10,000 in value) online at www.musicounts.ca.
The event at the Commodore was "amazing" for the students who attended, said Patsy Goto, music teacher at Tamanawis, whose senior concert band was invited to perform Randall D. Standridge's "Celebration Tribalesque."
Last February, a $10,000 Band Aid grant bought a variety of drums for a new drumline club involving 20 students at Tamanawis. The after-school club has evolved into a credit course at the school.
"Because of the large South Asian population at this school, we even got some dhols and other drums for it," she said.
The funding has helped further revive the school's band program, which was all but dead just a few years ago, Goto said.
"It was a lot of work to apply for the (Band Aid) grant, but it was totally worth it," she added. "The funding is great from the school board, but this is just extra."
As an added bonus, each of the schools in attendance at the Commodore event was given a $1,000 gift card from Future Shop, House of Marley's retail partner.
Also, each student went home with a set of earbuds from House of Marley.