photo credit: Alan Dunlop

“I’ve seen bad boys become good boys”
Dr. Barry Harris, Jazz Legend and Project Mentor


“It’s about giving the kids a forum to feel good about themselves because I think that’s where real change starts,”
Howard Rees, Project Director


from the TDSB…


"Dear Howard, I was impressed with the quality of the coordination and performances. Thank you for your perseverance and vision for the program and our students."

Donna Quan, TDSB Director of Education


"Dear Howard, Thank you so much for the wonderful opportunity your organization provided for the students of Percy Williams Jr. P.S. Our students and staff loved the partnership and the parents made many comments about how much they had loved the performance. The
students were so excited, and it was truly amazing seeing the joy on their faces. The teachers who were involved in the project commented that they were sad the project had come to a conclusion. Thank you for once again demonstrating the power of music and the impact it has on student success. I am hopeful that the 'We Are One Jazz Project' will continue for many years to come."

Tim Sullivan, Principal


"Hi Howard, Our kids still talk about the project and wear their t-shirts proudly!!! Looking forward to getting the project photos you mentioned.
Thanks again for everything that YOU do to make this happen for our kids. It was an incredible experience and hopefully we can be involved again."

Anna Epitropou, Principal


“All of us who attended the gala performance were blown away by the talent and the variety with which students were able to express their talent (solos, individual made-up lyrics, band, strings, ballads and kid’s songs). It was all quite delightful. Everyone very much appreciated that the focus was on the students and that the evening was very casual and entertaining in nature, thanks to the good humour of Barry Harris.”

Steve Travers, Principal


“The (We Are One) project has given (the students) an opportunity that they don’t normally have because of the severe underfunding that the school system has gone through.” “(Jazz) is a genre that is normally outside of their reality.”

Nigel Barriffe, Teacher


“We don’t have choral events in the north for this number of schools normally,” “This is over and above anything that we would normally be doing.”

Annie Appleby, TDSB Superintendent


“Howard, I wanted to thank you for providing this wonderful opportunity for our students, staff, and parents at Percy Williams. Speaking to parents and students directly after the performance indicated how enjoyable the experience was for everyone. Even more than their enjoyment was how this opportunity potentially showed some of the students involved what is possible in the arts world as they grow up. I strongly believe that every child is great at something and I am confident the We Are One Jazz Project exposed many of the children to their gift in music. Thank-you.
I wish you continued success with this project.”

Frank Liu, Principal


“Hello Howard, Thank you for your work in realizing this project. It was a most enjoyable evening, and our students are so fortunate to have had the experience of performing with such talented musicians.  I’m sure they are memories for them that will last a life time!”

Luisa Cangelosi, Principal


"Hi Howard, Congratulations on a fantastic concert. You worked extremely hard, and you have a talented team of musicians helping you create an unforgettable evening for students and parents. The students from our school absolutely loved the experience, and I know it will be something that they will remember for their entire lives. And I truly appreciate all of the hard work that you, Brian, Catherine etc. did. Wonderful."

Melanie Ward, Teacher


"Hi Howard - to start with I'd like to say thanks both professionally and personally. Not only did my kids have an excellent time, learned new musical skills and got to push themselves, but I also learned a ton of vocal teaching techniques that I can apply and take forward. On a personal level, to say I played a few choruses with Barry and Charles McPherson was a rare treat and an honour, so thank you for including me in that!"

Adrian Goodman, Teacher


"Hi Howard, On behalf of Timberbank staff and students, we want to say THANK YOU for an amazing concert last night. We really appreciate all the hard work that you and your team have put in. Thanks again, and hope this project will continue many more years to touch our lives."

Emilia Hwang-Kim, Teacher


"Dear Howard, Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful opportunity with my grade five students. They learned so much and greatly enjoyed their time with all of you and the honour of working with Dr. Harris. All the best in the future and keep up the great work.

Sarah Fife, Teacher


"Hi Howard, You, Catherine, and Brian should be extremely proud of the hard work you put forth towards this musical project! The students at Percy look forward to singing their hearts out on Tuesday. It will be an excellent show for all the parents and staff. Thanks again!

Connie Chan, Teacher


"Good Afternoon Howard, Hope all is well with you. Just wanted to thank you once again for a wonderful opportunity; it was enjoyable, to say the least, every step of the way."

Robert Manolakos, Teacher



From student participants:


"(Barry Harris) tries to motivate us with positive things."



“(Barry Harris) is simply inspiring.”



"The Jazz Program has opened my eyes and is now helping me to chart a path toward a career in the arts".




photo credit: Alan Dunlop

photo credit: Alan Dunlop

Project Partner
Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board
Lead Sponsors
Lead Sponsors Telus Mobility Black Artists' Networks Dialogue TD Canada Trust
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