On Thursday, March 2nd, Concerts in Care Ontario and Homes First launched a partnership to provide concert-hall quality music for seniors who are living under stressful conditions at an age when there should be comfort.
The March 2nd launch featured a spectacular performance by popular jazz vocalist Shannon Butcher with Ewan Farncombe, piano and Jonathan Maharaj, bass, for an audience of more than 50 seniors currently being assisted by Homes First. The trio shared a program of familiar songs from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, including tunes by Cole Porter and Elvis; they had the audience dancing along to the music, from the first song through to the very end of the concert.
MPP Mitzie Hunter, representative for Scarborough-Guildwood brought greetings and words of encouragement. Also in attendance were Concerts in Care Ontario Artistic Advisor Andrew Burashko, Homes First Director Scott McDonald, and Knox Out of the Cold Coordinator Sayeeda Hosein Silochan.
Picture #1: Andrew Burashko, CiC Artistic Advisor; Debra Chandler, CIC Executive Director; James Crippin, Homes First Resident Ambassador; MPP Mitzi Hunter.
Picture #2: Scott McDonald, Homes First Director
Picture #3: Out of the Cold Scarborough Team: Ismail Nathani, Sayeeda Hosein Silochan, Ivor McIlroy, with Homes First Resident Ambassador James Crippin.
Photo Credit: Silochan Images
The exuberant launch event was supported by Out of the Cold Scarborough, represented by Knox United, Agincourt Baptist, Ismaili Civic and Don Heights Unitarian Churches. Residents enjoyed a sumptuous spread of refreshments, a giveaway, and gift bags of essential items.
Toronto’s senior population has more than doubled in the last 5 years. Many of these seniors live on fixed incomes and must navigate increased barriers to access the support they require as they age. This perfect storm is forcing increasingly vulnerable people into impossible situations, increasing substance usage and unravelling mental health. While these current conditions may impact specific neighbourhoods, which are composed of a diverse population, one group is disproportionately at risk: seniors.
In response to this need, Homes First has recently launched the Homefull Toronto Campaign, which focuses on 3 important areas: food security, healthcare access, and social connection. This unique wraparound support model includes access to specialized services to assist in mental and physical health and a host of additional age-specific supports. And now they are adding music, with Concerts in Care Ontario.
Community partnerships like these are crucial to serving those in need with essential services, and many medical and social services leaders believe music is essential.
Concerts in Care Ontario is seeking donations to help support our work with Toronto’s homeless seniors. Join our campaign or call Debra Chandler, Executive Director, at 416-571-6170.