Choir helping Lanark Heights residents rediscover musical talents

Weekly program also creating a strong community among of residents and family members
8/9/2017  - Deron Hamel
Lanark Heights music therapist Elena Lepik and resident June Brooke are seen here rehearsing for the home’s choir.  

A new resident-based choir at Lanark Heights is not only providing in-home entertainment, it’s also proving effective at helping residents embrace their musical gifts.

The program, which is hosted every Tuesday morning by music therapist Elena Lepik, is encouraging residents to set goals for themselves and has even helped two residents get back into singing, after having medical setbacks, says life enrichment manager Nathan McFadyen.

“One of our residents has been singing in a choir for the past 40 years, so for him it has been about getting back into singing,” Nathan tells S&R Today.

“Another resident used to sing for years, until she had a stroke and wasn’t able to do so. But joining the choir has brought her confidence back and she is back singing at full force.”

Nathan notes that the choir has also helped ease agitation for one resident who has anxiety.

The residents performed for everyone during the last week of June, right before Canada Day, and they did a “wonderful job performing for all of us,” Nathan adds.

The choir has also engaged some residents’ family members. The daughter of one resident plays piano in the choir. Another resident has a daughter who uses her experience as an opera singer to help her mother practise solos.

Elena and her mother, who have performed for audiences at a music festival in Estonia, both participated in the pre-Canada Day performance at the Kitchener long-term care home as well.

“It was nice to see a little bit of community involvement,” Nathan says.

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