SongLine - Call for aspiring songwriters and composers

You’re an aspiring songwriter or composer, and you’ve been stuck on the first verse for a week.Or you’re staring at a blank page in your notebook and you’re playing the same two chords over and over and over. It doesn’t look good. But who are you going to call? Call SongLine.

SongLine is a new online resource created by songwriter, producer and music educator Aimee Copping.

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Aimee Copping leading an eight-piece synth band as part of the Blackball electronic music project. Photo credit Amber Homeniuk.

She conceived SongLine as an online discussion circle for the COVID-19 era. “I think of it as group therapy,” Aimee says. “It’s a support network for songwriters and aspiring songwriters.”

For an hour or two each week, SongLine participants will share songs, song ideas and thoughts about composition.

Aimee Copping plans to start leading free weekly online sessions as early as mid-July. To join in, all you need is a personal device, access to quiet room with a stable internet signal, and the desire to learn more about the craft of songwriting and musical storytelling. Any community member 18 and over is welcome, and there is no fee for participants.

Aimee Copping leading a workshop at Cambridge's Old Post Office | Idea Exchange. Photo credit, Amber Homeniuk.


Aimee Copping is the founder and executive director of Blackball, which provides hands-on electronic music instruction to young people and marginalized community members. Aimee has also worked as a mentor-producer with Pros and Cons, a restorative justice initiative that teaches songwriting to federal penitentiary inmates.

Both of these projects are on lockdown due to COVID-19, so Aimee created SongLine as a safe, virtual space for people to share their musical ideas in a safe, constructive, positive environment.

“There’s no ‘amateur’ or ‘professional’ in the SongLine universe,” Aimee says. “Anyone and everyone who wants to share musical ideas can be a part of the conversation.”

And the virtual “Zoom call” format makes it possible to meet safely in accordance with social distancing rules.

There are even post-pandemic plans to provide instruments to SongLine participants who need them. Aimee is in discussion with local organizations Girls’ Rock Camp and Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition to create a dedicated musical instrument lending library when social distancing guidelines are lifted.

If you, or anyone you know, has a song, a work in progress, or even just dreams of creating one, please feel free to spread the word about this new program.

Aimee Copping can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Welcome to Our New GAC Team Member!

Guelph Arts Council is excited to welcome our new Communications and Events Assistant for summer/fall 2020, Ahmri Vandeborne. Ahmri has been helping to promote local cultural events, artist opportunties and GAC artist members through social media and e-news articles. 

As a visual artist and musician, as well as a lover of all things arts-related, Ahmri is eager to work on some big and exciting projects with Guelph Arts Council including Digital Doors Open and the Guelph Emerging Artist Mentorship Program, among others. She’s looking forward to working with the community in diverse and unique ways, and contributing to pre-existing projects and events in new ways that adapt to the current global circumstances that have encouraged us all to “go-digital”. 

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Ahmri Vandeborne, Guelph Arts Councils new Communications and Events Assistant for summer/fall 2020

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Dreaming Up A New Kind of Festival: IF 2020

By Sam Boer

The suggestion was brought forth unassumingly enough. Dr. Ajay Heble—currently the director of the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation out of the University of Guelph (IICSI), but also known for his award-winning teaching, research, and founding of the Guelph Jazz Festival—suggested that an online improvisational arts festival could be an exciting venture for IICSI. The Institute, which would usually be hosting its annual musical improvisation camp in Gaspé, Quebec and teaming up with KidsAbility Guelph to run Play Who You Are during the summer suddenly had an opportunity to try something new.

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IF 2020 Video performance still by festival founder Dr. Ajay Heble 

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Guelph Arts Council - Statement on Systemic Racism

Dear members of Guelph Arts Council and the Guelph community,

The killing of George Floyd by a police officer has resulted in protests of systemic racism around the world. Guelph Arts Council (GAC) recognizes that systemic racism is not confined by geography. Canada is not an exception. Guelph is not an exception. Systemic racism is a global crisis and the current outcry is crucial to the development of a more inclusive and just world.

In this vital and long overdue spirit of self-improvement GAC has engaged in further discussions about anti-Black racism and the impacts it has on participation within the organization itself as well as representation in the arts.

GAC recognizes that we need to do more to actively cultivate the inclusion of Black People, Indigenous People, and People of Colour (BIPOC) on our Board of Directors, in other volunteer and staff roles, in our membership, programs, and communications in order to identify and remove barriers to participation that are unique to these groups. We understand that it is no longer enough to say inclusivity is an ideal we hold; we must act now to ensure we are inclusive in practice. Here are the steps we have planned at this early stage. 

  1. We are currently working on educating ourselves on matters of race, representation, diversity, and inclusion.
  2. We will identify gaps in representation within our organization and issues of systemic racism through community consultation and research. We commit to finding ways to amplify diverse voices in all aspects of our governance and operations.
  3. Within three months, we will create a committee of racially diverse individuals focused on Diversity & Inclusion within GAC. This committee will not be a place where BIPOC people carry the burden of education. To begin, this committee will focus on the following actions:
    1. Update our Code of Conduct and amend our Strategic Plan to identify inclusion/representation strategies specific to the BIPOC community while developing a separate policy that addresses Diversity, Racism, and Inclusion. 
    2. Implement effective ongoing leadership training for the Board volunteers, staff, and committee volunteers to promote anti-racism, anti-oppression, and inclusion at every level of GAC.
    3. Work to increase BIPOC participation and representation in our membership, Board, volunteers, and staff, in our programs and projects, and in the stories we tell about Guelph-Wellington's creative community.

GAC recognizes that this is only the beginning. Please email Patti Broughton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any feedback or are interested in getting involved with GAC as a Board member, committee member, or volunteer. All feedback will be treated as anonymous by default. We especially welcome those who identify as BIPOC to be involved in our D&I Committee to ensure that we are accurately taking into account the lived experience and perspectives that are too often missing. 

Guelph Arts Council is a registered charity that has supported the arts in Guelph-Wellington since 1975. GAC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, supported by volunteer Committees. Programs and services are delivered by the Executive Director and two part-time Co-Managers of Programs & Operations. GAC is grateful to its volunteers, community partners, members, donors, the City of Guelph, and the Ontario Arts Council for ongoing support.

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