Music program keeps Tyler McGill’s memory alive

Tyler McGill’s family was changed forever when he was killed more than a decade ago.

Tyler was a real eclectic individual. He was very diverse, he liked to play music, he loved to go fishing, he loved to play hockey and he loved to spend time with his family and friends,” recalled Tyler’s mother, Carol McGill.

“My son was a well-adjusted, kind, gentle human being. I was very proud of him.”

In the summer of 2007, 22-year-old Tyler McGill was attacked and stabbed several times while in a McDonald’s drive-thru with his friends. Tyler died days later from his injuries.

“(A) senseless act of random violence,” Carol said.

“That was basically what it was. There was no rhyme or reason for it. It’s just overwhelming.”

Somehow it was Tyler’s love of music that has carried his family and friends through the hurt.

“I didn’t want Tyler to pass away and just let him fade away … I wanted to keep his spirit alive,” Carol said.

In January of 2014 with the help of Youthlink, the Tyler McGill My First Musical Scholarship program was born. This is a free music platform dedicated to assisting vulnerable individuals in Toronto.

“If not for this program, there’s no way l would ever have any access to anything that I have done because of this program in the last two and a bit years,” said Abby Grundy, a participant of the scholarship program.

“You see a big difference in these kids lives all of a sudden and to watch that unfold before you, it’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said program music teacher Steve Worrall

“As a Canadian musician, I’ve been fortunate to enjoy more than a 40-year career. I have worked with some amazing performers. I toured and played with Tom Cochrane with Amy Sky — just life-fulfilling experiences — but this program has been the highlight of my career and my life without a doubt.”

Worrall utilizes his experience, his passion for teaching and runs the program for free.

“Why take anything for it? It absolutely changes lives,” said Worrall.

“It’s opened a bunch of doors to different possibilities that I can do when I get older,” said Grundy.

“To have kids that can’t do this come to this program and do it for free because they love it and because of Tyler, he’s the one, he’s the reason this all started.”

A benefit concert is being held in Tyler’s name at Roy Thompson Hall on June 21 at 7:30 p.m.

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