Christmas Mini Banner Saugeen Shores


DSCN6771 560Photo submitted.

Hub Staff

Three Saugeen Shores women are taking their talents to Greenhill Public School in Uganda in February to teach 600 students music and tree planting skills all the while learning from the Ugandan students on the Heart, Rhythm and Soul project.

Musicians Meryl Gilmore, Rebecca Binnendyk, and local business owner and green thumb Cathy Fenton are excited about their upcoming trip and have been collecting funds to have Indigenous Ugandan instruments made with a goal of raising $4,000. Over $2,600 has been raised so far and Cathy Fenton said that if anyone making a donation writes “flowers” in the message box they will have the chance to win free flowers once a month for six months.

Fenton said they are also collecting education aids and flash cards to give to the students. “A lot of the local people around this area have been really generous,” said Fenton January 31.

Originally from Saugeen Shores, music therapist Rebeeca Binnendyk said she made connections last year when she travelled to Greenhill and said the group will commission a man named Waiswa who lives close to the school to create the instruments. While she was there in 2017, Binnendyk taught the students the lyrics to O’Canada and said they're looking forward to relearning when they come to visit. She admitted that in addition to their national music scene, the local children enjoyed listening to Canadian export Justin Bieber as well as Usher, Lil Wayne and Shaggy.

“Most of the music they listen to is the older material, the difference is the only way these children hear music is through cell powered radios (if they're lucky) and many live in mud huts so there is no such thing, especially in rural Uganda where Greenhill is located.”

The musician said that not only will it serve as a form of entertainment it will also spark creativity in their minds. “When they come up with rhythms, patterns, and songs, it activates the brain in a way that can help with studies in other subjects. It teaches discipline and focus and will give them a sense of accomplishment. Music will build self-esteem. It can also bring relaxation, excitement, help them express emotions of joy, excitement, sadness, grief and just about anything. Many children will be encouraged to study more when they see their abilities to learn and improve on an instrument. Ultimately, it will give them more hope,” said Binnendyk.

Greenhill, which is located in Namwiwa Town, doesn’t have a lot of shade so the group will also spend time planting trees. “I think that’s where I come in,” joked Fenton who owns Cathy’s Flowers ’N Treasures. Each tree trunk will be surrounded with brick to protect them from the resident goats. Fenton added that she is looking forward to getting to know the locals and the feel of how the Ugandan people live rather than going on a trip and staying at a 5 star resort.

The group will also be coming with Canadian soccer uniforms, as there is a Canada vs. Uganda soccer game scheduled; and hearty breakfast, provided by donated funds, that the women will help serve to the 600 students.

“In Uganda, we go with the flow so we never know just what will happen or where a need will be that we can meet. That's what makes it exciting,” said Binnendyk who will be taking the group on a Safari adventure following their time teaching music at Greenhill.

The musician is already planning a 2019 Heart, Rhythm and Soul Project. Visit for information or contact Binnendyk at

Photos submitted.



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