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Instruments strike a chord with Fatima students

Elliot Lake Retirement Living grant helps put the music back in the classrooms
fatima music
Fatima teacher Philip Ucci takes some of his students through different chords.

A $2,250 grant from Elliot Lake Retirement Living is giving students at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School the opportunity to learn to play stringed instruments – guitars and ukuleles.

The grant was part of the annual community donations by Retirement Living to schools, organizations, groups and individuals.

It has allowed the school to open up sessions for students to learn to play guitars and ukuleles which are proving popular. It also allowed the school the opportunity to augment outdated instruments with 10 new ukuleles, six guitars and 10 tuners purchased locally from George Copeland of North Channel Music.

With a lifting of COVID restrictions and students returning to the classroom teacher Philip Ucci has created a guitar club during recess and boasts over 30 students who are learning to play, and many more who are interested in learning, according to school principal Andrew Chi. 

“The students are quickly learning chords, songs and making amazing music,” Chi said. “Many students have been practicing at home and we look forward to using this equipment to reach even more students in the future.”

Prior to COVID, the school had a guitar group led by Carol Norrish and many other local musicians who would volunteer their time and teach some students guitar. Due to COVID, the instructors were unable to host the visits.

“Many students were continuing to seek guitar lessons and expressed their desire to learn how to play those instruments,” Chi added. “This sparked the interest in playing the ukulele and guitar in many of our students.

Chi said the donation is greatly appreciated by the students and staff.

“Thanks to the generous donation by Elliot Lake Retirement Living our students are practicing a song of gratitude for Retirement Living. Music is alive and well at Our Lady of Fatima School and will be for years to come thanks to this generous donation.”


About the Author: Kris Svela

Kris Svela has worked in community newspapers for the past 36 years covering politics, human interest, courts, municipal councils, and the wide range of other topics of community interest
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