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Two Plus Nine equals Status4

Local group hopes video gives hope to its participants

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Gentil Misigaro (right) and Sgt. Kevin Gibson of Status4 are shown at the East End Cultural and Leisure Centre.

PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON Enlarge Image

Gentil Misigaro (right) and Sgt. Kevin Gibson of Status4 are shown at the East End Cultural and Leisure Centre. Photo Store

Status4 is built on the notion that music can bring all types of people together.

The Elmwood organization, based out of the East End Cultural and Leisure Centre at 575 Larsen Ave., is now taking the next step by showing what kids can achieve through music once they’re together.

In March, group members teamed up to record the music and shoot the music video for "Two Plus Nine" by Gentil Misigaro, the organization’s director of music programs.

"It represents the heart of what we’re trying to do and what Status4 is," said Sgt. Kevin Gibson, a 26-year member of the Winnipeg Police Service and the founder of Status4. "It’s about the love of music, sharing it, and bringing all walks of life together."

Misigaro, a 25-year-old refugee originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo who came to Winnipeg in 2010 after living in Rwanda and Uganda, said the response from the children has been wonderful.

"They love it," he said. "They’re always singing it. They’re always dancing to it. Some kids have been telling us that they’re listening to the song a number of times they can’t count — over and over."

Though some of the youth might come from disadvantaged backgrounds, Gibson hopes the project’s success will help inspire hope within them.

"They’re used to seeing videos, and music like this on the radio and on TV," said Gibson, who appears in uniform in the video with Misigaro and a Status4 participant. "To realize that they could do it, too, because they see us as people and friends they can trust, they see it can be done. It puts them that much closer to sharing and living their dreams out as well."

Releasing the video wasn’t the only major achievement in recent times for the club. The students were slated to have the chance to perform in the Juno Awards green room at The Fairmont Winnipeg for a bevy of Canadian music superstars.

In addition to performing "Two Plus Nine" with Misigaro, the group of 21 participants was planning to play "Believe," an original composition.

Status4 received the opportunity because of a $25,000 grant it received from TD Bank and MusiCounts for instruments and equipment.

"The gas tank in your heart is never empty when it’s filled with music and good people," Gibson said. "You’ve got to know what service station to pull into."

In addition to learning music and audio/video production, kids can also learn taekwondo at the centre. Gibson said the next goal is to secure a bus for the organization to help transport kids who might not otherwise be able to participate.

Misigaro is also one of 75 finalists for the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards. Voting will be held online at http://canadianimmigrant.ca/canadas-top-25-immigrants/vote on May 15.

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