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How can you get involved in SASS?
Whether a educator interested in opening a free SASS forum or network of clubs in your area,
a sponsor looking to support pro.-writer workshops, concerts, or writing contests, or a parent
or student wishing more information, please write
and Dale Russell, Artemis Chartier, or members of the SASS Canada Board will be pleased
to answer your questions by e-mail, phone, or a personal meeting.
How did SASS begin?
SASS began in Oshawa, Ontario, in February of 2003, when 70 students filled singer-
songwriter and high-school teacher Artemis Chartier's classroom to form the first SASS
writing club. Artemis so appreciated the new opportunities to listen to hear the ideas of
today's young people that she encouraged teachers in 20 other Ontario schools to begin their
own writers' clubs the next year. By 2005, SASS had grown to 50 Ontario clubs, providing free
guidance in music creation to over 1,000 students each year.
Dale Russell (Lead guitarist of The Guess Who from 1983-2000, and award-winning
songwriter- producer), was present at the first meeting, and was also moved by the voices
and thoughts of young writers, remaining involved over the next decade in the development of
After donating thousands of hours to SASS, Dale calls that first meeting "a life-changing
event for so many, including me."
Don Quarles, (later the Executive Director of the Songwriters Association of Canada), helped
establish the SASS mentor program.
The School Alliance of Student Songwriters is a registered not-for-profit, run by a board.
Though an independent, not-for-profit organization, SASS recognizes the support of its
donors, which have included Byron Nelson of Leland Industries, another major anonymous
benefactor, the Durham District School Board’s Student Success program, Oshawa’s Long
& McQuade, YAMAHA, Roland, Sennheiser, Hagstrom, Hartke, Rogers Music, Ontario Power
Generation, and the Whitby Sunrise Rotary Club. Caring listeners like Darlene Voogt, Josh
Raycroft, Mary-Ann Nova, Stephanie Siegner, Judy Hung, Lucy Grzegorczyk, Victor Fuke,
Dave Maclean, Theresa Wyatt, and dozens of other educators, as well as encouraging
families like the Moynes, the Regans, the McNevins, the Axfords, the Alis, the Gravendicks,
the Lueths, the McTaggarts, the Rouettes, the Sgandurras, and many others have all
strengthened the program over the years with their gifts of time and energy.