Olympians make pitch for music programs at Canada’s Great Kitchen Party

Local Olympians reached out to push music to the podium Thursday at the Victoria Conference Centre.

The Central Middle School music program received a $10,000 grant from Canada’s Great Kitchen Party to restock its inventory of instruments after its application was accepted.

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“We are practically playing antiques,” said Central music teacher Ross Ingstrup. “Our instruments have been around the block. It’s time to replace them.”

After 12 years under the name Gold Medal Plates, during which $15 million was raised nationally to assist Canadian Olympic athletes, the fundraiser has received a name change and its platform has been expanded.

Money raised will now be shared between Olympic athletes through the B2ten program, the MusiCounts program, which supplies musical instruments to school programs across the country, and Community Foods Centre Canada programs aimed at teaching kids how to grow, cook and share healthy food.

Island Olympians and former NHLers mingled with the sold-out crowd of 500 at the conference centre as musicians such as Jim Cuddy played. The MC was Olympic gold-medallist rower Adam Kreek.

Ingstrup is grateful for the grant, noting that half of Central’s 600 students are involved in music. “Sports and music are old school in schools,” he said. “Music and sports often share the same students within a school. Both activities involve effort, discipline and work in order to succeed.”

Former NHLer Russ Courtnall and wife Paris were so moved by the old musical instruments at the school that they added a private contribution of $5,000.

Canadian women’s sevens captain Ghislaine Landry, whose team won bronze in the 2016 Rio Games, said she is happy the new format for the fundraiser still includes support for Olympians. “You see a room full of people like this … and I genuinely believe it’s support like this that helped us win a medal in Rio.”

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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