The music education program at Simcoe County District School Board got a $9K boost last weekend from Bradford cover band, Ninth Line.
Formed in the 1980s at Bradford District High School (BDHS), named after one of the town's rural roads, the band returned to their hometown to make their donation to the school board while rocking out in their first performance since the start of the pandemic at the town's annual Pumpkin Fest at Henderson Park.
"Ninth Line is where we used to rehearse," said band frontman Jimmy Skerratt. "It's where we used to make all our noise when we were younger."
The group – Skerratt, Michael Jack, Joe Brett, Matthew Certosimo, and new drummer John Lord– reunited in recent years to play covers of classic 1980s rock 'n' roll, pop, and blues. Their original drummer, Peter "Woody" Woodhead unfortunately, passed away earlier last year.
The band was joined by the school board's head of music program, Bonnie Black and Bradford District High School (BDHS) music teacher, Holly Reynolds, and superintendent Chris Samis for a special cheque presentation Saturday afternoon.
Through the band's charity, Ninth Line Foundation, they donated $9,000 to the board so they could purchase software and licensing for remote music classes during the pandemic. The band also announced their Ninth Line Music Scholarship through the Ninth Line Foundation at BDHS, which was first awarded to a student starting out in a university music program.
"We always felt good about the high school," said Skerratt. "The music education has always been important to us, and that led us to think how we could give back."
It took around three years for the band to collect the money from funds raised through gigs and merchandise sales.
In the past, the band has used their music to support school programs, purchasing musical instruments to donate to schools and providing scholarships and bursaries for youth pursuing an education in music, through the Ninth Line Foundation.
"The Ninth Line Foundation's donations to the SCDSB was made possible by all our friends and family attending the band's shows and purchasing our 'merch' since our reunion in 2016, as well as the generous support of Scotto Electric, Bradford Print Shoppe, and Borden Ladner Gervaus LLP."
As pandemic restrictions begin to loosen, the band hopes to continue to perform, and further support music education at the SCDSB and across the country.
"There's not a lot of money in music anymore and the gigs are few and far in between, we take it where we can," said Skerratt. "We miss getting in front of the people. We all enjoy that."
To learn more about the band and their foundation, visit their Facebook page here.