Singing with kids for kids

By  Stephanie Buosi, Youth Speak News
  • February 19, 2009
{mosimage}BRAMPTON, Ont. - Gospel singer and songwriter Billy Grima sang powerful and uplifting songs of praise and reflection for the Kids for Kids concert on Feb. 7 at St. Anne’s Church here.

He sang accompanied by a choir of 20 children, also from St. Anne’s, who had been asked to participate by Grima and had been practising with him for a month. The concert was free, yet donations were accepted to raise money for Covenant House , an organization dedicated to helping runaway teenagers and street kids.

Grima only started raising money for Covenant House nine months ago, and although he has performed concerts in other parishes, the Kids for Kids concert is the first one of its kind at St. Anne’s.

“I’ve always wanted to do something to help kids on the street,” Grima said. “On my first album, Understanding, I had written a song dedicated to street kids called ‘Wishes came true.’

“There are kids that have nothing, who don’t even know what ketchup and mustard is,” Grima said when asked why the concert was dedicated to and performed with children. “Kids are the future. When you get older you notice what’s out there in the world. We need to keep God in their lives and show them that although there is bad in the world, there is also a lot of good.”

Grima, who comes from a Maltese background but was born and raised in Australia, has been at St. Anne’s parish for 23 years where he sings with the 10 a.m. choir. The concert band members, which included Carmine Spadafora, Sergio Spadafora and Paul Leombruni, also participate in the 10 a.m. choir and have performed with Grima a few times before for similar events.

“I have always envisioned myself assisting the underprivileged and displaced children of our community,” Grima said. “My goal is to use our music as the medium to inspire our community to support children in need.”

“He’s a great guy, really talented and a dedicated Catholic,” said Fr. Damian Ali, pastor at St. Anne’s. “You can clearly see his commitment to his faith and how he wants to make a difference.”

Special guests included Manuel Rodrigues on violin, Carl and Renette Lett and Theresa Vella singing back-up.

“I think it’s awesome to have kids be able to so something about a situation. Their participation and involvement is really great, especially how they can use their talents to help in a great cause,” Ali said.

“I believe this is a very worthy event which brings much needed attention to children in need, on the streets. It’s an issue that is here in our communities and this concert brings attention to it,” said Vella, a parishioner at St. Anne’s.

The Kids for Kids concert marks the release of Grima’s new contemporary Christian CD entitled A Little Piece of Heaven, which reflects his personal prayers from when he was young, sick and sought to connect with God. He also hopes that his music will encourage those who are struggling to realize that God has not abandoned them.

This concert however, is not the first of it’s kind for Grima or St. Anne’s parish. He has in fact, helped many other parishes with fund-raising efforts such as the Kids for Kids concert. In the future, he hopes to sponsor more fund-raising concerts with parishes hoping to raise money for a worthy cause.

(Buosi, 17, is a Grade 12 student at St. Augustine Secondary School in Brampton, Ont.)

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