For more than four decades, the CCAC has been dedicated to providing music lessons and arts classes within a secure and nurturing environment for underprivileged children residing in the St. James Town, Regent Park, and Moss Park neighborhoods of Toronto. These neighborhoods are not only known for their rich cultural and ethnic diversity but are also characterized by some of the lowest income levels in the city.
Additionally, we offer nationwide online lessons through platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Whatsapp, ensuring that children everywhere can benefit from our programs.
Our initiatives have consistently yielded positive and quantifiable outcomes for these young learners. Music, in particular, has been proven to enhance various facets of a child’s life. Research repeatedly demonstrates that music education contributes to the development of cognitive and motor skills, resulting in improved academic performance. Furthermore, it promotes healthier social interactions and fosters a sense of accomplishment, which is paramount in cultivating a genuine sense of pride and self-worth, especially for children hailing from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
We offer personalized and structured instruction in a variety of musical disciplines, including piano, guitar, violin, drums, percussion, musical theatre, and vocal training, tailored for children aged 4 to 18. Our weekly half-hour lessons follow the Toronto District School Board’s semester schedule, covering a wide range of musical styles such as classical, pop, jazz, folk, and songwriting. Our student-centric approach ensures that once the fundamentals are mastered, students have the freedom to either follow the Royal Conservatory curriculum or explore their creative side through songwriting, improvisation, and collaboration with fellow students.
Our Musical Theatre program encompasses Speech Arts and Drama coaching and has seen the production of popular works like “The Lion King” and original pieces crafted specifically for our young actors. The program includes instruction in dance, singing, costume design, stage production, makeup, and set construction, all offered free of charge.
On Saturdays, we host a free arts and crafts class, allowing children to express themselves through a diverse range of artistic media. The resulting artwork, sculptures, origami, and mixed media creations are proudly displayed on our walls.
This year, we proudly launched the CCAC Pop Band project, featuring the “Cabbagetown Heroes,” an ensemble dedicated to learning and performing popular hits.
In an effort to ensure that financial constraints do not impede a child’s access to music education, we maintain an instrument lending library, offering keyboards, guitars, and violins for those who cannot afford their own.
Furthermore, our organization plays a vital role in the community by organizing music recitals, art exhibitions, concerts, and active participation in local events such as the fall Cabbagetown Festival, which brings together children from diverse backgrounds who are otherwise separated by social, economic, and cultural barriers.
It’s important to note that the CCAC is the sole charitable organization providing these valuable programs to the children of St. James Town. With a population of 30,000, St. James Town stands as Canada’s largest high-rise community, and it’s one of the most culturally diverse communities globally, with residents hailing from over 100 countries and speaking more than 160 languages, as noted in the UN Report on Economic, Social, and Cultural Human Rights in St. James Town from 2006. In Regent Park, the majority of families are classified as low-income, with 76% of the population living below Statistics Canada’s low-income cutoff rate. Moss Park is home to one of Toronto’s largest public housing projects, with nearly all of its units serving low-income families. These neighborhoods have been particularly impacted by the challenges brought about by the ongoing pandemic.
The CCAC is dedicated to ensuring that its programs are accessible to all children, and no child is turned away due to financial constraints. If you’re interested in enrolling, please click the “REGISTER HERE!” tab.