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Film Producers Turn to Internet for Support for Inspirational Documentary

Three Toronto film producers have turned to the Internet to raise funds to create an inspirational documentary that proves music education can change lives and communities. EVO: A Celebration will capture the history of Confederation Secondary School’s Evolutionary Band and its visionary music teacher, Norm McIntosh.

TV producer and broadcast executive John Hudecki, film writer and director Jason Armstrong, and television marketing executive Praveen Amirtharaj call the opportunity to share this story “a labour of love.” They invite others with a passion for music, education and young people to support their vision by donating to the project at www.indiegogo.com

“Through the documentary, we hope to inspire other teachers, parents and communities to recognize the power of music and music education to unleash potential,” said Praveen Amirtharaj.  “Music can make a difference in young people at a pivotal time in their lives.” He added: “Former and current band members will share moving stories of challenges and triumphs.”

Using the Internet will enable the producers to spread the word about the project around the world and secure the funding needed to begin filming. “In order for this project to succeed, we need the Greater Sudbury community and beyond to participate by making a donation,” says producer John Hudecki. The producers have set a goal to raise $175,000 by January 18, 2013. “We thank those who have donated already and want to encourage others to go online and pledge their support to make this a reality.”

The feature length documentary, scheduled to begin shooting in the spring of 2013, will showcase the past 33 years of EVO and its impact on the hundreds of young people who have played in the bands, their parents, relatives and the community of Greater Sudbury where Evolutionary enjoys a rich history.

Evolutionary’s annual Mother’s Day Concert will provide the backdrop for the story where everyone comes together to witness a dazzling stage performance by the talented band members and crew. Incorporating archival video clips with recent footage, the documentary will be a comprehensive narrative of a music education success story. The film will capture an all-star concert with current and past band members and some special musical guests.   

John Hudecki, Jason Armstrong and Praveen Amirtharaj first visited Evolutionary Band members at Confederation Secondary School in Val Caron three years ago. Their level of commitment, professionalism and performance made an instant impression. Since that time, the trio has made it their mission to tell the world about the power of music education and how it touches lives.

“In researching the Evolutionary Band’s history and present day incarnation, they were struck by how much of an impact the band has had on the lives of Northern Ontario students over the past 33 years,” said Confederation Secondary School Principal Pablo Gil-Alfau. “Being part of something that is bigger than themselves, something that requires personal skill and discipline, that takes teamwork, co-operation and dedication, can be just what’s needed to engage students at that age of transition.”

He added: “Getting to know the musicians, both past and present, and their stories, helped to explain the impact of music in their lives. Funny, sad, heart-warming, heroic, are a few of the words that describe this unique musical story, as told by the people who lived it and continue to do so. The ‘Evolutionary Experience’ is an example of how music changes lives and gives young people a venue to exercise their creativity. It energizes people.”

Bob Ezrin, music producer for Alice Cooper, KISS, Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel, is a strong supporter of the Evolutionary Band. Ezrin hosts the video promoting the documentary, in which he encourages everyone to make a donation. Bob Ezrin has great praise for the band and, more importantly, its impact on young lives.

“Evolutionary is not about becoming rock stars,” he once said. “It’s about becoming stars as people. It’s about knowing who you are and what you can do if you try. It’s about finding your innate power and letting it loose through the music, the production, the dancing, the singing – all the aspects of the band. It’s about controlling your ego and serving the group with humility and pride at the same time. But it’s mostly about remembering that, if you can do this, you can do anything.”

Evolutionary Band founder Norm McIntosh is delighted that experienced Toronto film producers want to share the EVO story with the world. “The City of Greater Sudbury has a unique opportunity to get on board and to support the arts in our community,” he said. “Recently, there have been several film production companies making movies in our area, but they have all been using professional actors. The difference with this production is that it will feature real kids who live in our community.” He added: “These Toronto producers have fallen in love with this band and they want to tell our story. I couldn’t be prouder.”

Norm McIntosh started the band in 1979. When he first came to the community and the school, he developed a music program that, he believed, would speak the language of his students – “Rock & Roll”. His hunch paid off. Evolutionary has proven to be the catalyst that built the real foundation of his music program – giving young people the opportunity to learn and be part of something that would help them succeed in life. In the 33 years that he has led the band, over 1,200 students have participated. Many continue to stay in touch and speak with passion about the impact that Evolutionary has had on their lives.

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Media Contact:

Norm McIntosh, Music Teacher, Confederation Secondary School,

Rainbow District School Board, 705-671-5948.