JAZZ.FM91’s Holiday Heroes program delivers 135 musical instruments to Archie Alleyne Music Academy

More than 100 musical instruments donated by JAZZ.FM91 listeners have found a new home with the Archie Alleyne Music Academy in North York.

The delivery wrapped up the ninth year of JAZZ.FM91’s award-winning Holiday Heroes Instrument Drive, operated in partnership with Long & McQuade Musical Instruments and FedEx Canada.

The Archie Alleyne Music Academy is a program aimed at reaching children and youths in low-income, underserved regions in Toronto.

The music school operates largely out of the Spider’s Web Youth Empowerment Centre, which offers after-school programs at the Chalkfarm apartment complexes located northwest of Jane Street and Wilson Avenue. It’s operated by Believe to Achieve, the not-for-profit organization founded by Canadian journalist, author and former amateur boxer Spider Jones to help kids aged six to 16 with after-school personal development and mentorship programs.

“We’re excited about it,” said Jones. “Music has always been a part of my life, especially jazz … and the children are looking forward to this. Through the Archie Alleyne Music Academy, they’ll learn to read, write, arrange, sing. We just couldn’t believe it. They’re excited about having a music program, and the instruments are there now — thanks to you.””

The Archie Alleyne Music Academy is named after the Toronto jazz drummer who worked with the likes of Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Stan Getz and more. He also established the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund to provide bursaries to music students. He was named to the Order of Canada in 2011.

In total, JAZZ.FM91 listeners donated 135 musical instruments, including guitars, keyboards, brass, woodwinds, drums and more. Jones said the children can’t wait to play them.

“Their eyes lit up — they could light up the night,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. Just beautiful.”

We would like to thank Long & McQuade, FedEx Canada and, of course, everyone who who donated their used instruments for their help in making this year’s program a success.