Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education

Sistema Kingston Student Follows Artistic Passion

June 22, 2020

By Communications Team

Sidney at Paper to Wood CeremonySidney Pike-Nurse likes to draw, make videos and play viola. “Art flows through my veins,” he says, meaning every word. And thanks to his time with Sistema Kingston, Sidney has been given tools to not only express himself through his art but also learn how to use art as a way of keeping him patient and calm. The 12-year-old can’t get enough and his ambition to live a creative life has recently led to some new and exciting opportunities.

Sistema Kingston is a free after-school music program that runs at Molly Brant Elementary School in Kingston’s North End. The program offers group-centred music instruction and other practices (such as yoga and mindfulness) that help students learn inclusivity, teamwork, persistence, creativity, and responsibility. The program began in 2015 and has developed steadily since.

Sidney looks back to his first year of Sistema Kingston with wistfulness. He remembers bringing home a flyer from the school and thinking that the program “seemed interesting and that he would like to try it.” With support from his parents, he signed up the next day.

As a first-year DaCapo student (Grade 2) Sidney made a paper instrument to learn the basics of having, using, and taking care of an instrument. He practiced bowing techniques on his paper viola and got a taste for what it was like to play an actual instrument. He lights up when he describes receiving his first real wood viola in the Paper To Wood Ceremony in November of 2016. He still has the paper instrument at home – his Mom can’t bear to part with something that has impacted his life so profoundly.

Sidney at year end performanceSince receiving his viola, Sidney has practiced regularly and learned much from his instructors in the program, Erica (viola) and Sean (composition and improvisation). He likes learning new pieces and has risen to the task as repertoire has steadily increased in difficulty. Aside from viola, he enjoys all aspects of the program, including voice lessons with Ariel and learning to act for the end of year performance.

Sidney’s mom, Eleanor Pike-Nurse, is a supply teacher in the Limestone District School Board. As her son approached his Grade 6 year, she encouraged him to apply to the Limestone Education through the Arts Program (LEAP). The process challenged Sidney to put together a one-minute video application, which he did with ease. The video highlights his skills in visual art, computer animation (“Cartoon Sid” hosts part of the video), music, and acting. He crossed his fingers and submitted his application. He was accepted.

“We are so proud,” says Eleanor. “Sidney’s a great kid and it will be so nice for him to further develop his artistic skills through the LEAP program.”

Sidney is the first Sistema Kingston student to be accepted to LEAP, which is likely a sign of things to come. “We hope other Sistema students are inspired by Sidney to apply to specialized programs in their Grade 7 and 8 years,” says Sistema Kingston director Karma Tomm. “Sidney is a great example to all our students of what can be achieved by working toward your goals.”

Though he’s a little nervous about changing schools and starting the LEAP program in September, he’s mostly excited. He is sure to miss Sistema Kingston and all it taught him: how to create, practice, collaborate, and grow. Armed with these skills, he can now move confidently forward into the future.  His creative endeavours are just beginning.


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