'We made it!': Dans La Rue raises more than $5K to pay for new piano

Dans La Rue can pay off its new piano for its music therapy program thanks to generous Montrealers who made donations or attended a benefit concert Wednesday night.

The Montreal-based charitable organization, which offers resources and services to young people aged 12 to 25, raised more than $5,000 at its Leonard Cohen-themed benefit concert at La Sala Rossa.

The show featured artists including Josh Dolgin, better known as Socalled, Brad Barr of The Barr Brothers and Katie Moore. They all donated their time. Three youth from Dans La Rue also performed.

The sum of money collected now ensures that the youth use the instrument at the centre are able to tinkle the ivories for years to come.

The new piano, a second-hand Yamaha U1, will be replacing a very damaged piano near the end of its life, said Michelle LeDonne, a development advisor with Dans La Rue.

The piano is a big part of the organization's music therapy program, which can help intervention workers open up a dialogue with youth.

"It's not everyone who is comfortable sitting, talking face to face with a psychologist in a traditional setting," said LeDonne.

Benefit concert to launch fundraising campaign 

The organization has already purchased the piano, but it was seeking donations to help cover the cost of the purchase, the moving fees and the installation of a humidification system to make sure it stays in top condition.

Although the concert is over, anyone wishing to donate can go to the Dans La Rue crowdfunding page. Any money raised above Dans La Rue's $5,500 goal will go towards buying other instruments for the music therapy program.

The program caters to all experience levels. Some of the young people have played in a band before, while others are just picking up instruments for the first time.

"The music room is there to provide an alternative method to express yourself, and maybe discover a talent, discover a passion that might lead to a career some day — or them feeling better about themselves in a way they never thought," said LeDonne.

About 1,000 young people use Dans La Rue's services for food, shelter, employment, education and mental health support each year.