Retired Teachers of Ontario grant helps provide meaningful intergenerational experience
A recent trip to Village Green was a valuable intergenerational engagement experience for a student choir and ukulele players from Southview Public School, says the school’s music teacher Kathryn McConnell.
On Feb. 11, students from the Napanee school went to Village Green to perform songs and engage with residents, thanks to a grant from the Retired Teachers of Ontario to cover transportation and equipment costs.
The Music Builds Community grant is specifically aimed at bringing musical talent to seniors-living homes in Greater Napanee and to create bonds between students and the elderly.
There were two shows: a 21-student choir and a five-member group that performed numbers on ukuleles.
The event – the first time the choir had performed outside of school – succeeded in its mission, McConnell says. What amazed her most was how quickly and eagerly students connected with residents as everything was being set up for the performance, she adds.
“The kids were really excited to be there,” McConnell tells The OMNIway. “I was so impressed with the students and their connection with the seniors. … They were chatting with residents and asking them questions, and I was so amazed with how easily they did that.”
McConnell says the choir’s performance was also a learning opportunity for the students. The choir performed a variety of songs from the residents’ generation, which taught students the value of thinking about specific audiences and the music that’s important to those people, she says.
Some of the songs the students performed included Let Me Call You Sweetheart – in recognition of Valentine’s Day – and Mail Myself to You, as well as more contemporary songs such as Susan Aglukark’s O Siem.
While the performance was only 30 minutes, there was a lot of work McConnell and the students put in to preparing for the event. The students began practising shortly after Southview Public School received the grant in late November.
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