Press Releases


MONTREAL, MARCH 10, 2014I Medici di McGill, accompanied by the St. Gabriel Student Ensemble, performed a benefit concert to support the QMEA VIVA! SISTEMA Music Program at the Pointe St. Charles primary school. On Friday, February 28 I Medici di McGill, celebrated their 25th Anniversary and performed a benefit concert to support the QMEA VIVA! SISTEMA Music Program at St. Gabriel School.

St. Gabriel’s students are also involved with two outside music programs. The Viva!El Sistema program originated in Venezuela which encourages social change and social interaction through the teaching of violin and cello. It attracts 22 students from the school and the surrounding community who learn and practice two hours daily, four days a week.
“The violin is an intricate instrument that involves hand-eye coordination, memory, as well as musical appreciation and expression,” stated Principal Jim Daskalakis. “The Viva!El Sistema program allows students to express themselves through string instruments. It’s a program that we are proud of.”
The church was filled with patrons who were rewarded with and inspiring concert featuring a performance by world renowned celloist  Stephane Tétreault, who played on a 1707 Stradivarius cello (loaned by Mme. Jacqueline Desmarais.) The audience was drawn to its feet to applaud the young celloist who was a student at FACE  School where he started his magnificent career. Two English Montreal School Board employees, Diane Pontikes and Marja Coadyin, play in this orchestra also. Featured performers at the concert were 25 students from St. Gabriel who had been studying violins or cellos (some were in their first year and others in their second year of study).

“To say that this concert was a resounding success would be an understatement,” said Deputy Director General  Roma Medwid. “I was so proud of our little prodigies from St. Gabriel who impressed many of the aficionados of classical music in the audience including Marc Garneau. The audience was so taken by their skill after only one or two years of study that they were drawn to their feet for a rousing, standing applause. The students were thrilled and their nervous smiles with big wide grins of satisfaction.”

The students at St-Gabriel are also involved in the Heart of the City Piano program,  which is a McGill University initiative in which the university provides teachers and tutors who come to the school throughout the a week and offer private and group lessons for piano and keyboarding.


Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213