While the concert, a part of Toronto Police's Cops and Kids program funded by ProAction, may have been about out-reach and community building the concert itself was an outstanding set of music by some very talented guitarist.
The kids were competing to win the Carparelli Guitar they were performing with. Little did they know each of the eight who were in the running would walk off the stage at the end of the night with their own guitar from the Toronto based manufacturer.
Tonight's show was not Bamby-pamby school recital with rocking chords and powerful runs students from St Mary’s Catholic Secondary School, Francis Liebermann Catholic Secondary School, West Hill Collegiate Institute, Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute, Central Commerce Collegiate Institute, Western Technical Commercial School and Bishop Marrocco–Thomas Merton Academy each showed that they had the talent to command the stage. Playing cover songs like Sweet Child of Mine the students were backed up by recording artists TraceNine, based in Cambridge, Ontario, and Richmond Hill’s littleSunday.
The program was started four years ago by Constable Robert Tajti, 11 Division. Bob is a rocker at heart and took his love of music into the schools. As he said on stage tonight some cops carry guns, he carrys a guitar. His mentoring and the mentoring of others, mostly school resource officers, have helped build a bridge with the kids in the program. Bob said that he has seen the positive results with kids in the program that makes the hours of hard (and fun) work worth it.
Staff Inspector Bryce Evans is another who has been a big part of MUSIC! Not Mischief. He's proud of the cops who are taking their time with the students and committed to a program that is making a difference in Toronto.
Tonight school resource officers beamed like proud parents as they spoke about their kids that would be competing. Each one promised that their kid would be the winner.
In the end, all of the kids on stage were winners. Each shining bright with a talent that will carry them on. It wouldn't be surprising if in a few years we hear about one of the young men who performed tonight to be on a bigger stage accepting a Juno Award.