Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Singing Policeman

By Carmine Starnino                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Constable Kevin Gibson wants to use music to prevent street violence. 

Four nights a week, Wanda Kent drives east, across Winnipeg’s Red River and down a long cul-de-sac to a dilapidated, grey stucco building. “On my first visit,” says the single, unemployed mother of five, “I thought I had the wrong address.” Inside the softly lit East End Cultural and Leisure Centre, however, is plush carpeting and a stage, as well as a soundproof recording studio. Keyboards and a range of guitars line the walls. There’s even a piano used by performers at the 2014 Juno Awards.
Kent has been bringing her 12-year-old twin girls here for two years. It’s a chance to escape the North End, an area afflicted with the highest rates of reported muggings and assaults in the city, and where Kent is often afraid to let her children play outside. Tonight, a volunteer lines up Chelsea and Cassie, both dressed in jeans and black tops, with 20 other children, many new arrivals from Sudan and Rwanda. Soon the group is harmonizing along with Serena Ryder’s hit song “Stompa.”...http://www.readersdigest.ca/magazine/true-stories/singing-policeman/                                                                                                                                                          Serena Ryder

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