[UPDATE] Grand Valley Minimum Security Institution for Women – March 29, 2018


Andrea Tyniec, Violin


CSC Staff:

75 minutes

This event exceeded every expectation – it wasn’t just an interactive recital, it was a dialogue between the soloist, women (80% of prison population) and… a 4-month-old Rhyder, who spent several months in prison with his mother before being born in a nearby hospital in December.  Rhyder was an active, but well-behaved listener throughout the entire Event.

Our soloist arrived with a thoroughly thought-through program – she spoke passionately, but thoughtfully about her long-lasting relationship with classical music and about the role it played during the darker and brighter moments of her life. Andrea played bravely and brilliantly, while methodically narrating her story and engaging all women and tiny Rhyder in the conversation. Suddenly, masterpieces by Kreisler, Bieber, Bach, Tchaikovsky each acquired its own undiscovered purpose and each delivered a different powerful inspirational message provoking the audience to react and reciprocate, which is well reflected in numerous testimonials received.

It was a natural conversation. Hope and optimism generated by the classical music at the times of hardships and falls was the underlying theme. And Andrea did an outstanding job in delivering this message in a personal manner, which stimulated trust and confidence in the audience, which ultimately responded to the invitation to sing Cohen’s Hallelujah and Dance Me to the End of Love, accompanied by a solo violin.

It was more than an interactive concert – it was musical confession; honest, brave and artistically professional.  This performance was an unexpected discovery of the new scenario of our future Events.  It has profoundly touched everyone present, including yours truly and Rhyder who has made history by becoming the first infant to enjoy classical music, produced by a talented young musician and 1689 Baumgartner Stradivari in such unusual venue.

Finally, I can still hardly believe, that GVI Minimum is actually a prison – the building is new and very well designed, it is a part of a magnificent landscape, which opens from almost every large window, it hosts only 30 inmates, who each reside in a separate unit, they engage in various industrial activities, buy their own food (we happened to visit on that day) it is extremely spacious, there’s no barbed wire, security appears to be minimum and the atmosphere reminded of the dormitory.  Not to mention hot water and a washroom. While they are in prison, of course – millions and millions outside (of Canada) would trade places with them. Something to think about before being unforgiving to Correctional Services Canada.

While as during our first visit we unfortunately did not have Warden or staff with us (they were a always preoccupied with other important priorities), our hostess Candice Lee was exceptionally helpful in making our visit most pleasant and memorable. GVI Minimum will go down in history for being the only site in this 3-event 2018 Spring Series, where mini-reception was arranged following the Event.