February is Heartstrings Month at the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

Each year, your Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra donates over 600 free concert tickets to dozens of charities. In total, we have donated 6,366 tickets to those less fortunate in the community, to over 60 different charities.

Kids Up Front

From our perspective, programs such as The Heartstrings Program are essential in providing arts and cultural enrichment to those in our community who may not be able to afford such opportunities, for those who are dealing with complex personal and social situations, and for many of our most vulnerable citizens.  Many of our families are struggling to provide for basic needs in their households; programs such as Heartstrings offers inclusion and removes barriers to participation in our community.  In particular, we see increased demand for programs like Heartstrings given the ongoing economic climate in our city and province as a whole. With 10% unemployment in our city, we see increased need reflected in food bank use, EI, rental vacancies, etc.

Our clients may be struggling with finances, may be in shelters, may have life threatening or chronic health issues, be living in foster care or group homes, be in transition, or facing enormous personal challenges.  A day out with their children, engaged in healthy and positive recreation and leisure pursuits can be restorative, rejuvenating and inspiring.  It can provide for family bonding, and expose children to new forms of the arts, the world of music, literature, culture and live performance.  Heartstrings brings inclusion for many that are often excluded; it makes the arts accessible for all, and we see the gratitude and impact in the cards that we receive from families that have attended events.   We know that engagement in community is a protective factor for mental health and social development, and we know that involvement in positive recreational and leisure pursuits reduces social isolation, and can increase positive and pro social behaviors in children  and youths.

“The heartstrings program is a remarkable opportunity for (our) families and the children they care for. The children get lost in the wonderment of the experience. They often, have never been to anything like this and express joy over what they see and hear for the first time. The parents are so happy to share this experience with their children that they otherwise would unable to participate in. They see the impact on the children as their love of music grows and their view of the world increases with something so new and magical.“ 

Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association

The Heartstrings Program affects CIWA by allowing immigrant women and their families who have recently settled in Calgary to:

  • Overcome financial barriers as many of them are low income families and are unable to attend special events
  • Learn more about and appreciate Calgary’s cultural scene
  • Develop a sense of belonging within the community by being able to participate in one of Calgary’s leading entertainment options
  • Enjoy a typical ‘Canadian’ family enrichment activity; many of these women either don’t work and are unable to take their children out to paid events
  • Engage in the community through the enjoyment of music without the concern of language barriers interfering as music is a universal language they can easily enjoy

This year your support helped provide 440 tickets to the following organizations:

Aventa Addiction Treatment For Women
Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary
Calgary Catholic Immigration Society
Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association
Closer to Home Community Services
Discovery House
Epilepsy Association of Calgary
Famous Five Foundation
Friendship Group
Girl Guides of Canada
Independent Living Resource Centre
Kerby Centre
Kids Cancer Care
Kids Up Front
Linkages Society Of Alberta
MADD Canada Calgary Chapter Office 14
Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorders
Rainbow Society Of Alberta
Salvation Army Agape Hospice
United Way of Calgary and Area
Women In Need Society
Woods Homes (18 and under)

For more information, to donate or register your organizations to the HeartStrings program please visit the HeartStrings homepage.