The Elora Festival Singers (EFS) are often asked to perform in other provinces, townships, and countries. Due to the nature of our organisation, all of the travel costs, subsidising of the professional choir to rural communities, organisation and rehearsals among so many other aspects of touring, are partially covered by the generous donations of those who support us. With such a talented and sought after choir, it is a dream to send them on more international and prolonged tours. This campaign may assist us in this dream.
Another aspect of our Open-Road campaign assists the EFS with providing subsidised educational appearances at high schools, universities and workshops for aspiring musicians.
(NEW) Circle of Song Choir
The EFS has been collaborating with the Wellington Terrace Long Term Care Facility in Elora/Fergus to develop a choir involving many of their residents coping with various stages of dementia, their family caregivers, and members of the EFS. This choir is led by a professional singer/conductor from the ranks of the Elora Singers, and is the first such therapeutic program in the world connected to a professional choir. The template for this choir program comes from a very successful Singing for the Brain program in England (https://www.alzheimers.org.uk). Wellington Terrace’s Life Enrichment Manager travelled to England and observed the Singing for the Brain program, then worked with the EFS to customise the program to the needs of the Wellington Terrace residents. The program is now entering its second year after a very successful first year.
The weekly choir sessions make a long-lasting, positive impact on the emotional well-being of the participants, and is proving to be beneficial in the physical, cognitive and social domains. Music memories are the last to be affected by dementia, and this is evidenced when the residents make a clear association with the familiar music. The social bonding that emerges during each session as residents join in song with family caregivers and the other participants is deeply touching.
Wellington Terrace is ideally suited for this pilot project since it is a state of the art long-term care facility with excellent staff who adhere to up-to-date research in providing the most positive therapies for dementia.
The Circle of Song choir is conducted by Chris Fischer from the Elora Festival Singers, and other Singers participating from within the choir, as funding permits. Educational resources are supplied by Wilfrid Laurier University’s Music Therapy Department and the Music in the Community program. Further resources are offered by the Waterloo-Wellington Alzheimer's Society.
Because of its direct association with the Elora Festival Singers, the Circle of Song choir has every opportunity to develop and perform within and outside of the Wellington Terrace. Opportunities are currently being explored to have the Circle of Song choir take part in inter-generational sessions with the Centre Wellington District High School choirs.
This choir offers a valuable educational tool for Music Therapy students, high school students, and community volunteers, and expansion of the choir are underway both within Wellington Terrace and into other long-term care facilities.
From all of us associated with putting the Singers on the Open-Road, we thank you for your consideration and assistance.