Kitchener-Waterloo·Audio

More than singing your sorrows: music therapy about making connections

There may be nothing new about music therapy, but there are people in Waterloo region who are thinking about the old practice in unique and innovative ways.

There may be nothing new about music therapy, but there are people in Waterloo region who are thinking about the old practice in unique and innovative ways.

Circle of Music

Cree Ward points out the song's words to her choir partner Lou Woeller. Both are part of the Circle of Music, which meets weekly at St. Peters church in Kitchener. (Melanie Ferrier/CBC)

The Circle of Music is not your typical choir. There are no sopranos, altos or tenors and at least a third of its members have been diagnosed with some form of dementia. Even so, the group is very dedicated to their music and to one another. The relationships that have formed between the senior members and their younger counterparts — high school students from the region — has created a special dynamic. Reporter Melanie Ferrier joined a practice to see how those relationships were developing.

Ubuntu

Community members gather at Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute to sing songs in a variety of languages: English, French, Spanish and Armenian, to name a few. (Melanie Ferrier/CBC)

Starting in the fall, Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute began opening its doors once a week to the public for a special after school music program. The program was geared toward new Canadians and long-time residents of the area, with a goal of bridging the gap between the two groups. Organizer Josh Hill told reporter Melanie Ferrier that while he felt like a social coordinator, it didn't take long for friendships to form naturally.

Music Mondays

Students in the special education program at Monsignor Doyle Catholic Secondary School get together every Monday at lunch time to sing and dance. (Laura Barroso)

A group of special education students at Monsignor Doyle Catholic Secondary School think they've learned the secret of connecting through music. For the past five years, they've been getting together every Monday at lunch for a lively round of karaoke. But as reporter Melanie Ferrier quickly discovered, there is so much more than singing going on during that half hour break.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melanie Ferrier is a radio and digital reporter with CBC News in Kitchener, Ont. You can email her at melanie.ferrier@cbc.ca.

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