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About Us

The Mission

To enhance the lives of and learning opportunities for at-risk youth through a structured music program that continues throughout the school year. The Heart of the City Music Program encourages students to make positive lifestyle choices.

Volunteer registration for the 2019 Fall Semester is now open. You can access the application form here.

Student Registration and FOIP forms have recently been updated. If you have misplaced your forms, it can be accessed here. Please return these to your student's music teacher when completed.

The Vision

To proactively address the social issue of poverty and social justice by the advancement of a more equitable opportunity for disadvantaged youth to participate in music lessons.

Volunteers are post-secondary students or community members who provide one-on-one piano lessons to students in inner city schools at no charge. The HCMP provides a way for members of the community to share their love of music with children who would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn how to play the piano. When children realize that they are capable of creating music, the whole world opens up to them. They realize that they can be a part of the beauty around them and that they are more than capable of accomplishing whatever they set their minds to.

The program is not only intended to give the students musical skills. Through exposure to positive role models, opportunities to attend live music performances, and the fostering of a sense of accomplishment, students will gain self-confidence, a greater sense of the overall cultural community, pride, and self-esteem.



In 1995, the Heart of the City Piano Program (HCPP) began as a single dream to enhance the lives of at-risk youth through a structured music program. Richard Dube, the music teacher of Pleasant Hill Community School in Saskatoon, started the program with the strong belief that involvement in the HCPP will help students to make positive lifestyle choices and prevent them from becoming involved in drugs, alcohol and violence.

In the fall of 1999, the HCPP expanded within Saskatchewan to include schools in Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, and Regina.

In the spring of 2002, the HCPP expanded nationally to Edmonton AB, thanks to Chantal Chauvet, a former volunteer piano teacher at King George Community School in Saskatoon.

In January of 2005, the HCPP expanded to Ottawa, Ontario thanks to the hard work and efforts of Bettina Choo and the Circle K Kiwanis Club from the University of Ottawa.

In November of 2007, the Montreal chapter of HCPP was created by students at McGill University.

In September 2008, Chris Cheung and Pauline Voon, former executives from HCPP Edmonton, along with UBC student David Leung, founded the HCPP Vancouver chapter at the University of British Columbia.

In the fall of 2013, the HCPP was able to start a Saturday program at the NCFRC with the help of MusiCounts TD Community Music Grants program.

To learn more about the HCPP in other cities, visit our National Website.

HCMP Edmonton

Here in Edmonton, the HCMP is registered as a Student Group at the University of Alberta. It is run chiefly by U of A students with the invaluable support of the Edmonton Public School Board and the music teachers and principals of the various schools.

Since 2002, the Heart of the City Piano Program Edmonton has gone through many directors including Vanessa Sands, Annika Nordhagen (2002-2004), Yang Li (2004-2005), Jennifer Au and Jennifer Shi (2005-2006), Chris Cheung, Shaughnessy Fulawka (2009-2010) and Michelle Casey (2010-2011). HCPP was revamped in 2007, with the beginning of the collaboration with the City Center Education Project (CCEP). Headed by Chris Cheung, David Cinats, Joyce Fung, Anthony Lott, and Pauline Voon, expansions included volunteer events, fundraising commitments, and the first annual year-end recital at Muttart Hall, Alberta College Conservatory of Music. The contribution of everyone's hard work has allowed the HCMP to expand and evolve into the program it is today.

In 2009, two new exciting additions were made to the HCPP: the formation of the Music Resource Library and the Performance Troupe. Led by Cian Hackett, the Performance Troupe consists of talented piano players who share their talent by performing at events to raise funds for and awareness of the program. Also, a collaboration with the SHINE Youth Clinic began, with volunteers from the HCPP taking turns teaching piano to patients at the clinic every other Saturday.

Beginnning September 2011, the HCMP will commence a guitar pilot program at Norwood Elementary School and John A. McDougall School modelled after our successful piano program. As well, the partnership with the CCEP further developed into a collaboration with the Edmonton Public School Board. In January 2012, a partnership was formed with the Old Strathcona Youth Society after the SHINE Clinic closed.