Sarah McLachlan & Sun Life Financial launch new music school in Edmonton

EDMONTON, AB – (May 25, 2016) – Edmonton’s underserved and at-risk children and youth will now have the opportunity to gain access to world-class music programming at no cost. The Sarah McLachlan School of Music (SoM), currently operating in Vancouver, is opening their second school in Edmonton, Alberta. As the founding sponsor, Sun Life Financial has donated $300,000 to help launch the new school.

“We’re thrilled to be expanding into Edmonton and offering more kids the opportunity to experience the power of music education,” said Sarah McLachlan, Founder, Sarah McLachlan School of Music. “Music has played such an important role in my life and career. Being able to share the gift of music is magical. This opportunity will enrich the lives of kids who need it the most.”

Students receive ensemble-based instruction in music fundamentals, guitar, piano, percussion, choir, songwriting, music theory and electronic music. By the end of 2016 the school hopes to have approximately 120 students enrolled and over 250 by the end of 2017. SoM Edmonton began offering classes in April and is currently operating in partnership with Edmonton Public Schools.

“This is a great to way to demonstrate the ongoing efforts to provide our students with access to music education,” said Darrel Robertson, Superintendent of Schools, Edmonton Public Schools “The board is pleased to see SoM Edmonton in the community, serving children in need.”

Sun Life Financial is proud to be the founding sponsor of SoM Edmonton. A $300,000 donation helped establish the school, and provide musical instruments, instruction and administrative support. In 2014, Sun Life Financial also announced a $300,000 donation and three-year partnership with SoM Vancouver.

“We’ve seen first-hand the amazing impact SoM has had on the lives of children and youth.  Students not only learn the fundamentals of music but build essential life-long skills like confidence and resilience.” said Paul Joliat, Assistant Vice-President, Philanthropy & Sponsorships, Sun Life Financial. “We are committed to supporting music schools across Canada and we look forward to seeing the impact this new school will have in Edmonton.”

Sun Life Financial is supporting the vision of Grammy and Juno Award-winning Canadian music icon Sarah McLachlan. Sarah’s dream of making a difference by bringing music into the lives of young people who might not have access, reflects the core goal of Sun Life Financial’s signature Making the Arts More Accessible™ program. The heart of the program aims to provide Canadians the opportunity to enjoy the very best of our country’s arts and cultural community, regardless of their means.

For more information about Sun Life’s philanthropic work with SoM and to learn more about Sun Life Financial’s Making the Arts More Accessible™ program, visit

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Shadi Toloui-Wallace