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Local musicians raise money for instruments and lessons for kids

Proceeds from the Thursday night charity bingo games at Market Brewing Company this month will go to MusicCan, a non-profit launched by Glenn Marais and Manny DeGrandis
Glenn Marais (right) gives a guitar to Julian through MusicCan.

Throughout November,  bingo is supporting MusicCan, an organization that provides instruments and music lessons to youth. 

Proceeds from the Thursday night charity bingo games at Market Brewing Company will go toward the organization this month. Tonight, on Nov. 10, Glenn Marais and Manny DeGrandis who founded MusicCan will be there to provide live music. 

The pair has been playing together for 20 years and started the organization in 2021 after losing a lot of work during lockdowns. Their aim is to not only provide free instruments to kids but also three months of free lessons. 

"Giving someone a guitar, keyboard was one thing, but if they can't afford lessons, it's kind of pointless," Marais said. 

So far they have partnered with Yahama to give brand new acoustic guitars to four kids in need, three of which have already started lessons. Marais said the kids are usually speechless when they see the instruments. 

"When you first have a guitar in your're so reverent about it," he said. "They're all really quiet and they have that look of reverence and it's so great." 

With this fundraising drive, MusicCan is hoping to bring that same experience to more kids in need. Not only do they want to help 10 to 20 kids in 2023 and eventually expand across Canada, but the organization is also fundraising to buy a community drum set. 

Marais has been teaching Djembe drums at Maple Leaf Public School in Newmarket for three years but the school has been renting the drums and it's very expensive to buy them. 

With enough funds raised, he said they would be able to buy a set that would be stored at the school but could be taken to other schools as well to expand the program. 

The bingo fundraisers are from 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 10, 17 and 24. You must be 18 to play and it costs $25, which gets you five rounds of bingo. Fifteen dollars go into the pot for players to win, while $10 goes to the charity of the month, which is MusicCan. 

Along with the bingo fundraisers, Marais and DeGrandis will be playing at the 10th anniversary party for Good Vibes on Main that takes place at Market Brewing Company on Nov. 11 from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. There will be prizes, swag and of course live music. The event is free to attend but a portion of each beer sale will go toward MusicCan. 

There is also a GoFundMe page where you can make an online donation to help MusicCan reach its goal. The page also outlines exactly how the funds will help the organization meet its goal of improving lives through music. 

"It's changed both of our lives for the better and I can't even imagine a life without it," Marais said of his own experience with music. "That's why I really love doing this for kids who can't afford it because they're facing some of the challenges that I had when I was growing up." 

MusicCan aims to raise $15,000 through its fundraisers, including the events this month. 

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Elizabeth Keith

About the Author: Elizabeth Keith

Elizabeth Keith is a general assignment reporter. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2017. Elizabeth is passionate about telling local stories and creating community.
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