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Bringing music to the youths — at no charge

Youths in Aldergrove, Abbotsford and Langley are receiving free music lessons through the charitable work of the Music Access Society, spearheaded by local residents Anne Guite (top left) and John Briner (top centre). This guitar group class meets weekly at St. Dunstan’s Church on 264 Street, where Tristan Paxton (top right) is their instructor. - KURT LANGMANN PHOTO
Youths in Aldergrove, Abbotsford and Langley are receiving free music lessons through the charitable work of the Music Access Society, spearheaded by local residents Anne Guite (top left) and John Briner (top centre). This guitar group class meets weekly at St. Dunstan’s Church on 264 Street, where Tristan Paxton (top right) is their instructor.
— image credit: KURT LANGMANN PHOTO

Four young girls were happily picking and fretting their guitars along to a Taylor Swift song last Thursday in a quiet room at Aldergrove's St. Dunstan’s Anglican Church. Their instructor Tristan Paxton patiently guided them through the chords and notes to the current pop chart hit for the hour-long lesson.

The four music students, like several others in the Langley and Abbotsford area, are receiving professional quality instruction at no charge, thanks to the fledgling Music Access Society.

The non-profit society, based in Aldergrove, was founded late last year by Anne Guite and John Briner with the aim of providing a top-notch music instruction program to youths who could not otherwise afford such a program. Thanks to the many donors who’ve stepped up with gifts of money, free meeting space and instruments, and fund-raising events organized by Guite and Briner, the program has taken off.

“We’ve had a lot of instruments donated, people have been very generous,” said Guite. “The principal of Blacklock elementary school donated several keyboards which are used by 15 students at our program in the Al Anderson pool meeting room — and the room was donated by the City of Langley.”

Long & McQuade, Tapestry Music and Ryan and Stephanie Langford are also sponsors of the MAS programs in Abbotsford, Aldergrove and Langley. In addition, Langley Rotary and Kinsmen clubs have pledged funding for the program.

The parents are required to register the students but the only cost is a $25 refundable deposit for any instruments which are loaned. The instructors are also screened for criminal records by the society to ensure the safety of the students.

“The families are not down and out but they simply don’t have any money for extras, whether it’s soccer or music or whatever. This program gives them a healthy alternative to video games,” said Guite.

For information see their website www.musicaccesssociety.com or call 604-259-8452.

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