Past Outreach Projects

Cascadia Society "Animal Tales"

The Cascadia Project was an outreach and collaboration brainstormed by Carolyn Canfield Cole. The inspiration came from a concert she attended, to hear two of her Lions Gate colleagues perform with the handbell choir from the Cascadia Society. The concert was so moving, that an idea formed to combine both the Lions Gate Sinfonia professionals with the special needs musicians to put on their own joint concert effort. (view YouTube video)

Handbell choir director Lorna Fortin and community directors Patricia Smith and Ruth Tschannen and Carolyn met many times to discuss the possibilities for programming.

When a plan was formulated, the group met with the orchestra’s Music Director, Clyde Mitchell, to discuss further how it could come together.

A joint production of Peter and the Wolf and Saint Saen’s Carnival of the Animals were decided upon and in May 2009, that dream came true, after hundreds of hours of work by many, many people.

Grant writing and sponsorship hunting, practicing for months, music arranging, production logistics and planning, adjacent foci such as organizing to present the art work by the special needs group in the foyer for the public to view and purchase, rehearsing together finally in the week before the show, all these details and more consumed those working on the production.

Partners from Cascadia included many members from the board, management, staff and volunteers.  It was a real partnership and the collaborative effort was rewarding for all.

Many commented for months afterwards how moving and unforgettable the evening was.

Another positive aspect to this concert, was the involvement of student musicians, as this concert, titled “Animal Tales”, was also our annual Side-by-Side event. Many of the students were very affected by their close experience with a part of society that few come in contact with.

Carolyn Canfield Cole, a Producer and Director


Toward Cultural Harmony
 Produced and Directed by Carolyn Canfield Cole and
Handsworth String Teacher Peter van Ooyen

Facilitated by Hussein Janmohammed
Mentors/Composers/Arrangers: Anne Duranceau, Edgar Bridwell, Bruce Sled, Hussein Janmohammed, Concert Videos by Andy Gavel

Performed by Handsworth Secondary School and Sinfonia Orchestra

TCH is a safe, active and caring group of students and mentors who, through dialogue, share cultural and personal differences and work together collaboratively to create a new work of musical art. 

Young people often walk through their daily lives with a wide variety of competing beliefs, ethics and ethnic identities. By joining a musical ensemble such as a band, choir or string orchestra in school, one makes the decision to share, through a group experience, a positive activity. The Toward Cultural Harmony Project is a student quest for shared understanding, respect and collaboration through the creation of a work of musical art, by music and non-music students. 

Since October, participants have been engaged in after-school workshops with peers and professional musicians from diverse backgrounds, sharing their cultures, tastes, belief systems and interests with one another. Participants have been involved in group activities and discussions that resulted in the sharing of musical ideas which have been used to create a musical statement/experience. 

Students have been encouraged to guide the process and make decisions about all aspects of the project. 

The only constraints were the required boundaries of time and compositional goals. Participants were encouraged to be forward thinking and to experience ways in which technology can play a part in this shared expression. The musical composition is intended to be performed by traditional orchestral instruments but may include any sound media that sudents find relevant.  The visual works of art developed in parallel with the music media had no limit as to type of medium other than respect for the institutions and participants.  

The nature of the musical composition was planned to be such that it would be a melding of various musical ideas important to each participant, similar to the current "fusion"or "mash-up" phenomenon but not uncommon in traditional composition by prominent composers of the past.

By participating in this special TCH project, students will hopefully have gained a positive appreciation of each other's background, be it in terms of musical tastes, disciplinary measures, religious practice, values, etc. The intent of this journey was to enable and build trust and trhoughout the dialogue process, thoughts formulated to lead to musical ideas. During the reflection, visual art was also born as an extension of the participants' expression. For this reason, a mixed media element complements the musical showcase. 

It is hoped that this experience will have a wide ranging, positive impact on the students and art communitites, and that the participants will recognize their special strengths and gifts through their accomplishments. 

In the TCH project participant's words: 
 Erica: "This is a big giant coming-together of views and differences, languages and many cultures! Life without music would be empty".
 Maddie:  "This is what we are about - get used to it! It isn't about me - it's about what we all have in common." 
 Yasaman: "I didn't know we could combine cultures and work together". 
 Adriano: "Technology is good at bringing people together and expressing ideas.

Carolyn Canfield Cole, a Producer and Direct


Testimonials for Animal Tales

"Once again a fabulous evening was had by all.  I don't know when I have enjoyed myself so much. Everyone at the theatre thoroughly enjoyed every moment of your great show.  Congratulations to everyone!  You should all be very proud of yourselves." - Gerry S., Cascadia parent

"I'll never get over it!" - Catherine T., Cascadia parent

"I will carry this in me for the rest of my life." - Rita R., opera singer

"I have worked with disabled people all my life and I have never experienced anything like this. I will bring this back to my community in New Zealand."
Marion S., music therapist and chamber music group leader, came to the concert on her 70th birthday with her twin sister. Their brother has Down syndrome, and lives in a community for special needs adults.

"I have seen “Peter and the Wolf” many times and this was the BEST one I have ever seen. And I am a teacher; I know what I am talking about!" -  Anonymous audience member

"Thank you for the wonderful concert with Sinfonia. We have heard raving comments from our invited friends." - Dick, Minoru, and Shizue H., Cascadia parents

"We wanted to take a moment and thank you all for the wonderful evening on Saturday. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. It was an amazing evening – thank you. Please pass on our congrats." - Monica and Galen O.


Testimonials for Toward Cultural Harmony Program 

Erika (Philipines): I actually really enjoyed the concert. All the pieces that Sinfonia played were really beautiful and really cool, and how they played for our composition was really cool too! I like how "Common Harmony" all blended together without much effort. I learned a lot about the Persian culture, and about God involved in all different cultures... I think music is the universal language... It's everywhere, it's in the malls, on the radio, on TV, it's everywhere... Music is really important for the development of people's brains as well.