Faces of Music Care Part 8: Health Arts Societies – Concerts in Care

by Various Writers

This blog entry is submitted by Noreen Langdon, Executive and Artistic Director for the Atlantic Health Arts Society.  For more information or to contact someone in your area about Health Arts Societies, visit www.healtharts.org or www.samsante.org The Health Arts Societies/Société pour les arts en milieux de santé is a national group of seven registered charities that arranges live musical concerts for Canada’s under-served seniors, and offers paid professional engagements for our nation’s talented musical artists. Since it was founded in 2006, the Health Arts Societies/Société pour les arts en milieux de santé has held over 7,000 concerts across the country for under-served seniors. The Concerts in Care program provides a venue for an enriched intergeneration experience to seniors in care, and has engaged the services of more than 17,000 Canadian artists paid at professional rates. In the spring of 2012, through the generous sponsorship of BMO Financial and in partnership with several performing arts organizations, the Health Arts Societies held a Concert in Care festival across Canada. Seventy-three thousand elders and others in long-term care enjoyed first-class music by over 4,000 artists in 1,835 concerts across the country, spanning all ten provinces and the Northwest Territories.

The Concerts in Care program builds on the work of hundreds of performing artists, and on a philosophical foundation that live, interactive music provides immediate and positive engagement for all residents in care who participate. The positive response of these seniors, many suffering in the midst of their journey with dementia, is interesting and exciting for everyone involved.

Health Arts Societies Performers: L’Orchestre Métropolitain - Thérèse Ryan, cello, Nancy Ricard, violin, David Levine, administrator of SAMS, Daniel Turp, President of SAMS, Danielle McCan, President and General Director of Health and social Services Agency of Montreal, Jean R. Dupré, President and General Director of l'Orchestre Métropolitain, Julie Dupras, viola, Éric Bourbeau, VP Business Development and Sales Quebec TELUS, Lyne Allard, violin Much has been written about the way music provides people with ways of understanding and developing their own identity, connecting with other people, maintaining their well-being and experiencing and expressing spirituality. People also associate music strongly with the memories of their own lives. The Concerts in Care program offers music as a source of entertainment, but also as a forum to share and interact with others. The Health Arts Societies are witnessing broad acceptance of the value of Concerts in Care in the LTC sector. There is increasing recognition in Canadian society that the aging audience is as important to serve as any other enjoying the work of professional performers. Concerts in Care have been received with joy and gratitude across the country. Here are some comments from health care settings across Canada about Concerts in Care:

  • The musicians were wonderful. Their selection was fabulous with such a variety of music. I heard about the music for the rest of the day.” We have a couple of ‘fiddlers’ as Residents and they stated “You know, that’s not my type of music but I liked to hear them play” “Boy, you sure could tell that they enjoy playing music”. Another comment by a dignified gentleman who listens to classical music all the time stated “It’s been so long since I’ve been to the symphony, it’s so nice to hear them again”. Marny Warner, The Birches, Musquodoboit Harbour, NS
  •  I was very moved as I observed the residents absolutely mesmerized by the performance. They were absolutely transfixed. On so many occasions some of the residents have such a short attention span that they are up and out within a few minutes. There must have been at least 75 residents there and they all stayed for the performance. I was hearing comments from residents like “That was wonderful,” “This was the very best,” “When will we have some more?” “I am still vibrating” The performers were breathtaking! Their generosity of time, supplies and kindness will not be forgotten. It was a powerful performance and made a tremendous impact on our residents and all fortunate to hear the concert. Vija Mallia, Residence Director, Castleview Wychwood Towers, Toronto, ON
  •  It was absolutely wonderful. We had residents reminiscing who rarely speak any more. We do have entertainment here on a regular basis, but this was a very rare opportunity for our residents- the chance to hear truly first class, professional music. Janet Eggert, Director of Programs and Services, Covenant Health, St. Joseph’s Edmonton, Alberta