Faces of Music Care Part 5: Fit As a Fiddle Canada

by Various Writers

This blog entry is submitted by Margot Glatt of Thornhill. Margot and Aidan Mason are part of a duo called Fit As A Fiddle Canada. For more information, visit www.fitasafiddlecanada.com

For the last seven years, I have been the very happy half of the musical duo Fit as a Fiddle Canada. My partner Aidan and I formed our duo with one goal in mind: to create an entertaining interactive one hour show specially designed for older adults/seniors. Music from the good old days, performed in the good old way.....no karaoke, just the two of us playing our instruments and singing songs they know and love. Why do we do the work we do? Because we love it. Aidan, a very accomplished guitarist, took up fiddle in 2005. He performs on guitar and fiddle.  I found my role as the drummer/percussionist and we both sing. The “fit” part of our name comes from my many years of work experience in the fitness industry and our desire to incorporate some light exercise type movement near the beginning of our show to get everybody warmed up and energized. It’s good to get the blood flowing and just the mere act of everyone moving together to the sound of the fiddle always creates a powerful feeling of togetherness amongst the audience members. Aidanʼs opening fiddle numbers where I accompany him on spoons is always an instant smile maker and toe tapper. Since day one, we began the next part of our performance with You Are My Sunshine. Whether itʼs our Christmas, St. Patrickʼs Day or Halloween shows, our audience embraces this song like a big hug. Everyone has heard and knows this song from somewhere in their past and is eager to board the sing-a-long train with this favourite. Of course no “real” show would be complete without a little bit of dancing and vaudeville style shtick. I still love the way Aidan whistles during his Baby Face solo and the audience goes crazy. Once when I asked him mid- whistle “How do you do that Aidan? ” a gentleman from the audience piped up and said “Itʼs because he has his own teeth”. His name was Russell. Weʼll never forget him. For us, music is a powerful vehicle for reaching into the hearts and souls of our audience. Our audiences generally like to hear the music at a surprisingly loud volume and this is not a hearing related issue! They love to feel the energy of our music. Subsequently, when we quieten things down, there is a more dramatic impact as well. We often hear the words “We like what you guys do because you donʼt put us to sleep!” From where we stand and play, we have the unique privilege of experiencing first hand people’s reaction to the music. A husbandʼs hand being squeezed a little tighter when we play a song the couple may have danced to in younger days;  laughter from a song that tickles their funny bone; a tear slowly falling down a cheek of someone who may be living with dementia who remembers a loved one or a moment in their lives. We have the best job in the world. They always make us feel appreciated. After the show when we are doing the least enjoyable part of our gig - packing up the gear, we are inevitably approached by the folks in the audience with interesting questions, kind words and so often stories they wish to share. This past summer, Aidan and I tied the knot. After seven years of our audiences asking us if we are a couple, because you know they really do take a genuine interest in getting to know us, we were proud to say “Yes!” Every time we let people in on our news, it was like telling family. One woman came up to us and said, “I was happily married for 60 years and I want to you wish you both a long and happy marriage like I had”. That human connection is precious and heartwarming. We got a lovely letter in the mail recently from a residence we performed at. The letter concluded by saying “It is always a joy to be able to provide such wonderful entertainment to our residents, which helps to enrich their lives.” How could we not absolutely love what we do.   Room 217 Foundation is always pleased to share stories of Music Care.  For more stories of care, check out our website at www.room217.ca