Live Wire In The Schools

Since 2001 Live Wire, in association with the Limestone School Board, has offered very special concert/workshops at elementary and secondary schools in the Kingston area. Audience response from both students and staff has been overwhelmingly positive. Typically Live Wire sponsors between 20 and 30 workshops during the school year dealing with songwriting, instrumental and performance technique, careers in the music business and social change through music. Outstanding Canadian musicians such as Stephen Fearing, The Good Lovelies, Ember Swift, Teilhard Frost, Jane Siberry, Alan Gerber, Dala, Rick Fines, Ariana Gillis, Kate Reid and Rose Cousins have inspired and entertained about 3000 students per year.



May 1, 2019 – Teilhard Frost, Lily Legacy, Grandmother Judi – Granite Ridge Educational Centre & Prince Charles Public School

Message from Al Rankin:
It was a fine time at Granite Ridge Education Centre (GREC) on May 1st. It started with Teilhard Frost doing a 40 minute “musical instruments from stuff you find” concert to about 200 kindergarten to grade 4 pupils, most from GREC and some bused in from Land O Lakes. They were spellbound. 

Then there were four 50 minute sessions for grade 5-8 students from GREC and Prince Charles Public School that went for the rest of the day as the kids rotated through:

  1. Teilhard demonstrated how to make music with anything at all.
  2. Lily Legacy helped the students make hand drums from sonotubes and tape – brilliant! Each pupil got to make and decorate one.
  3. In the woodshop, Geoff Petznick had the kids each make a very playable flute out of ABS tubing. They even learned to use power drills to drill the finger holes.
  4. Grandmother Judi, helped by Pam Giroux, taught the kids indigenous songs that they then sang accompanied by the drums that they had made.
The whole day was magic. GREC vice-principal Kristin Stevens deserves huge applause for pulling everything together.
It was made possible by support from Blue Skies in the Community, Live Wire Music Series, the Artist in Residence Equity Program at the Ontario Arts Council, the parent council at GREC, and Peter Mouncey at Prince Charles Public School. Thanks for keeping music alive in our schools!

Al Rankin
Artistic Director, Live Wire Music Series
Artistic Director, Blue Skies Music Festival


Nov. 29, 2017 – Jeremy Fisher – Rideau Heights PS
Jan. 19, 2018 – James Hill – Centennial PS
Mar. 23, 2018  – Brock Zeman – LCVI
Mar. 28, 2018  – Jacob Moon – Granite Ridge
Mar. 29, 2018  – Jacob Moon – KCVI
May 22, 2018  – Gareth Pearson –  LCVI
May 22, 2018  – Gareth Pearson –  KCVI
May 23, 2018  – Gareth Pearson –  Loughborough PS
May 23, 2018  – Gareth Pearson –  Granite Ridge EC
May 24, 2018  – Gareth Pearson –  Sydenham HS
May 24, 2018  – Gareth Pearson –  Lasalle SS

Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 – James Hill – Centennial Public School

Here’s a little video to let you know where some of your money has gone and what we’re doing with it.  Hopefully it conveys my appreciation and the appreciation of our students.  The focus in this video is specifically the amazing little workshop and concert we had with James Hill–an amazing opportunity I latched onto just a month after receiving our LLF grant to buy ukes. If you hadn’t recently considered the incredible impact that Live Wire in the Schools has had in our community lo these many years, soak it up here in the “concert” portion of this video!  James Hill, one of the world’s great virtuosos on this instrument, providing rich instruction and inspiration to our kids.  We are so lucky! ” Sincerely, Skot Caldwell, Grade 5/6, Centennial Public School



Tues. Nov. 19 – Emily Fennell – Ernestown
Wed. Nov. 20 – Emily Fennell – LCVI, KCVI
Thurs. Nov. 21 – Emily Fennell – Sharbot Lake, North Addington E.C.
Fri. Nov. 22 – Emily Fennell – Sydenham H.S., LaSalle S.S.
Tues. Dec. 3 – Emily Fennell– Frontenac S.S., QECVI
Fri. Mar. 21 – Kevin Fox – LCVI
Fri. Apr. 11 – Rueben DeGroot – Storrington P.S.
Fri. Apr. 11 – Corin Raymond – LaSalle S.S.
Mon. Apr. 14 – Corin Raymond – QECVI, Bayridge S.S.
Thurs. Apr. 24 – Kate Reid – Sydenham H.S., Granite Ridge H.S.
Fri. Apr. 25 – Kate Reid – LCVI, LaSalle S.S.
Fri. Apr. 25 – Eve Goldberg – Central P.S.
Fri. May 2 – Jenica Rayne – Storrington P.S.
Mon. May 12 – Wendell Ferguson – Sydenham H.S.
Fri. May 23 – Trio Balkan Strings – PDCI
Tues. Jun. 10 – Teilhard Frost – Loughborough P.S., Harrowsmith P.S.
Wed. Jun. 11 – Teilhard Frost – Land O Lakes P.S., Granite Ridge E.C.
Thurs. Jun. 12 – Teilhard Frost — Tamworth P.S., North Addington E.C.

Some recent feedback from students and teachers: 

October 24, 2014

Hello Live Wire!

Just a quick note to let you know that QECVI had the great pleasure of hosting the folk singing duo Ash & Bloom today. This group performed for our students with wit, sensitivity, and grand artistry- again, most of our students would never get the opportunity to be exposed to live musical performances without the assistance from the Board and from LiveWire Series that brings musical artists into the schools. I am always moved when I see my students totally engaged and looking so joyful as they listen to the wondrous sounds of the various musicians sharing their talents. We can hope that these students will be touched and changed in a positive way by what they are witnessing.

Thank you again for supporting all of these wonderful opportunities for our QE students. The power of music to heal lives and to motivate people is very clear and I am very grateful for the encouragement that I receive on a daily basis from my colleagues, my principal, Al Rankin and the artists themselves, to continue to enrich the musical lives of students.

Sincerely, Alison Pinkerton
Vocal Music Teacher

Ash & Bloom at QECVI
Ash & Bloom with students at QECVI
Hi Al,
I just wanted to send a note of thanks and appreciation for Live Wire’s contribution towards bringing professional artists/musicians into the schools for our students to experience and enjoy. With the help of the Limestone Board we were able to bring in Wendell Ferguson this past Monday for an engaged audience of 60-70 in our new drama room, at a very reasonable cost.
In the past my classes have also had the pleasure of hosting clinics and concerts by many other artists including Dala, Coco Love Alcorn, Ann Vriend, Emily Fennell, and Gareth Pearson to name a few. It is an invaluable resource to have students experience professional, passionate, world-class artists right in their classroom without the added costs of tickets and transportation etc. Thanks again for your financial support.

Mike Verner
Head of Arts and Moderns
Sydenham High School

Dear Al,

Hi, it’s Adam Clark from QECVI. I play acoustic guitar. Stephen Fearing’s concert was outstanding. He teaches students who are interested in that path on how to put on a show. His presentation was filled with humorous tips on how to improve yourself.  He gave us some of the proper tools to be successful.  I believe that having performers such as Stephen come to our school helps inspire young people to strive for their goals without doubting themselves.

Thank you for making this happen.

Adam Clark

Dear Al,

Thanks so much for bringing Stephen Fearing to QECVI.  His performance was rich and inspiring.  As an amazing bonus he spoke sincerely to our kids about following their dreams, about choosing a career path that is fun and meaningful, and he did it all with strength and humour.  What a rich experience – for me as well as for the kids!

Thank you.

Jan Swaren
QECVI Head of Arts

The workshops were absolutely wonderful.   It was amazing to see the youth, attentive, engaged, laughing, participating, performing, smiling and really enjoying themselves.  Myself and the other teachers are so appreciative. As you know it can often be challenging to motivate these youth – but from the first performer on — there was never an issue.

Thank you!

Stephanie McGlade
Safe Schools Teacher
SNAP Program

Hi Alan, 

Sheesham and Lotus played here yesterday.  They were fantastic!  Kids and adults alike left the show talking about how interesting and entertaining it was.  Their show was the complete package- and it was clear that they knew how to present themselves to younger audiences.  I’m very impressed with their show, and want to thank you for suggesting them to us. 

Steve Ottenhof/St. Martha Catholic School

I thought that I would pass on a couple of pictures of Ariana Gillis while she performed in the library at QECVI last week.  Her musical and storytelling abilities were great.  The students and staff were thoroughly engaged by her performance.  Thank you very much to Al Rankin for connecting with us and to Live Wire for bringing her to town.  Ariana’s comments regarding reading and the influence that has had on her art were appreciated by all in attendance. Just thought that I would share and say thanks to all who helped make this possible.

Susan Kirby
Librarian, QECVI

Kate Reid at Frontenac Secondary School
Kate Reid at Frontenac Secondary School
Ariana Gillis at QECVI
Ariana Gillis at QECVI
Stephen Fearing and students of QECVI
Stephen Fearing and students at QECVI

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