Art Beat: Folk Music Ontario Outreach

Connecting artists, students, and community during the annual Folk Music Ontario conference

Definition of Outreach

The act of reaching out; the extending of services or assistance beyond current or usual limits. (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2012)

Definition of Art Beat

An opportunity for performers who are registered delegates at the annual Folk Music Ontario conference to ‘extend’ and ‘reach out’ to the host community. Performers act as volunteers by donating intimate, acoustic one-hour performances in local schools, seniors’ residences and long term health-care facilities.

Old Man Luedecke with banjo in classroom

Why Art Beat?
Folk music is ultimately about expression, reflection, creativity and community. What better way to embrace the roots of folk music during the Folk Music Ontario conference than to volunteer an hour of time with students and local residents who might not otherwise have an opportunity to hear, learn, discover, and connect with our musical community?

What kind of performances does Art Beat offer?
The primary focus of the program is to offer performances which are enjoyable and engage the audience in a live, acoustic music experience. Some Art Beat performances feature content ranging from the art of songwriting to ethnic folk dancing; from traditional story-telling to guitar techniques. The common connection is folk music in its many forms. This program is a voluntary service and no fee is charged to any of the schools or organizations that are chosen to host a concert. The concerts are primarily acoustic, except in rare circumstances where the artist and venue arrange for amplification. FMO does not provide sound equipment.

Other information
This opportunity is open to all registered delegates of the 2016 Folk Music Ontario conference. FMO will match Art Beat participants with a small audience at a shelter, hospice, school or community organization, where they will perform a 45-minute set in an intimate, acoustic setting during the day on Thursday, October 20 or Friday, October 21. No extra gear required!

As a token of gratitude, FMO provides a $100 credit toward future FMO purchases. There will also be an Art Beat reception and debrief on Friday, October 21st at the conference hotel, with food and drinks provided.

Applying to Art Beat
Both English and French applications can be found below. Please note that the application deadline is Monday, September 26, 2016.

Art Beat application: https://marcatoapp.com/forms/fmo/artbeat2016en/new

Formulaire d’inscription pour Art Beat: https://marcatoapp.com/forms/fmo/artbeat2016fr/new

What have people said about Art Beat?
Students, teachers, administrators, health care workers, and musicians alike have been delighted with the programs offered during conferences in Sudbury, Guelph, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Niagara Falls, Mississauga, and Toronto. Following are some reflections from recent Art Beat participants:

In 2013, Art Beat saw its first performance in a correctional facility with Jay Aymar playing at the Ontario Correctional Institute (OCI) in Brampton. At the conference, Jay spoke about the profound impact of this experience. The staff of the Brampton OCI were equally impressed:

“[I want] to say a BIG THANK YOU for organizing and participating in the performance at the Ontario Correctional Institute on October 17, 2013.

Jay, the residents on Unit 6 were very appreciative of the time that you spent with them. They thoroughly enjoyed your performance and were still talking about it the next day.  Taking the time out of your busy schedule to perform for some of the men at OCI is not something that everyone is willing to do; for this I thank you tremendously.  It meant a lot to both the residents and myself that you were willing to dedicate some of your time to volunteer at OCI.”

Andrea Monteiro, Deputy Superintendent of Treatment and Programs, OCI

“Just wanted to pop you a note expressing how fantastic it was to have Gary [Rasberry] share his musical talents with our classes today. Our students were engaged and enthusiastically participating the entire workshop. Gary had a wonderful presence and personality. We were so grateful he was able to come visit us today. Thank you for such a wonderful program!”

Diana Planche, Metropolitan Andrei School

“It was an amazing time with Marta [Pacek]. The residents were super happy, grateful, inspired, encouraged. Marta was great, the ladies loved her voice and everything about her. We hope Marta would visit again please. Also, I would like you to pass this letter of appreciation to her, for the gifts of CDs, key holders, neck chains, the gift of her talent, time and herself to us. I am most grateful.”

Bola Oluwole-Rotimi, Mary’s Home (St. Vincent de Paul)

“I did a 90 minute performance/talk on the role of empathy in songs and songwriting. “Empathy” was the October prayer subject in their school so it was perfect. They were younger than I normally prefer – 2 classes of 12 year old grade 7s – but they were attentive and extremely engaged and inquisitive. I spent most of the session fielding all manner of questions and Vicki wanted me to return next year….  I had fun, they were inspired, and all were better for it. Thank you for doing such a great job organizing all of this year’s Art Beat!”

Jon Brooks, Folk Music Ontario member and Art Beat performer

“I had a great experience at St. Marcellinus Secondary School. The students and teachers really seemed to appreciate and respond to my music and life in music. As they are heading to Spain next year, I felt like an ambassador of my Spanish culture. I really got a lot from the experience. Thanks for putting this together.”

Jorge Miguel, Folk Music Ontario member and Art Beat performer