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Fish Creek residents are treated to a travelling harp performance

Fish Creek residents are treated to Gianetta’s travelling harp performance

Musician Gianetta Baril brought her internationally renowned harp performance to United’s residents at both Fish Creek and Garrison Green communities this week. Gianetta, who is a harp teacher at the Mount Royal Conservatory, played from her custom-fitted van using a sound system to ensure residents could hear every note. She is no stranger to United, having performed for residents and visitors at two open houses.

“I was in hospital for a few days in May – not COVID related – and realized how difficult being isolated can be. I began thinking about how to get music to older adults and others who are isolated. I’ve been performing for 35 years, and know the power that music can have on people’s lives, so as the idea evolved, it became clear that the only way to do this would be by using a vehicle to create a rolling performance space,” said Gianetta.

Gianetta has performed around the world including concerts behind the Iron Curtain, performing as a soloist for the Queen, Prince Charles and the late Lady Diana and most recently at the Rio Harpfest in Brazil.

The interior of her van was modified to include wood paneling, which gives the resulting sound more of a concert hall feel. Because of her close association with United, she launched her travelling music project at Fish Creek and Garrison Green.

Gianetta performing for residents of Garrison Green

Gianetta performing for residents of Garrison Green

“My entire life has been lived creating music and sharing it out of love. This project is how I see that my gifts can be brought forward and be relevant during this time of personal and world transitions. During my long career I have been blessed to experience the transformative power of music on the hearts of listeners and I look forward with eagerness to the special moments that are bound to be sparked through this journey,” said Gianetta.

Garrison Green residents Brian and Jacqueline Naylor were impressed. “We chose Garrison Green because of the variety of programming and this performance was certainly the kind of thing that we enjoy,” said Brian. “It was unique the way she had the van set up. We really enjoyed the performance.”

Gianetta will also perform at a long-term care centre in Red Deer, then travel north for a performance in Fort McMurray.

Performances and presentations in hospitals, retirement communities and schools are being offered throughout Alberta and British Columbia this fall and across Canada starting next March. You can learn more about Gianetta’s work on her website.

You can watch Gianetta at an earlier performance here.

Photos by United Active Living. Videos by Sherana Productions.

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Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities Garrison Green or Fish Creek

The restrictions on visiting mean that tours aren’t available right now, but don’t hesitate to talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange for a tour once we are able to do so. If you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community, send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a future visit. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

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United’s popular Music Appreciation program is back after a hiatus of almost five months due to COVID. But rather than an in-person program, Zoom was used to connect Jill LaForty, United’s music director, with residents at both Fish Creek and Garrison Green.

Jill LaForty with residents in a virtual music appreciation program

Jill LaForty with residents in a virtual music appreciation program

Jill set up the Music Appreciation program about five years ago to not only help residents rediscover the classics, but to delve below the surface of the music to give residents the context and meaning behind the composition of the timeless pieces.

“The residents frequently attended concerts and wanted more in-depth understanding behind the music, ” said Jill, in describing the origins of the program. “The beauty is that the program attracts residents who are familiar with the music, and those who aren’t. Everyone is  enjoying it because they are all seeking to expand their horizons.”

For the return of the Music Appreciation program, Jill heard from Maureen Miller, a Fish Creek resident who suggested a discussion around composers who had physical disabilities.

“What a fantastic presentation,” said Maureen. “I got the idea after attending an art studio workshop where the creative facilitator, Jeff Chan, spoke about artists who had various disabilities yet were able to produce masterpieces.  I left Jill’s music presentation  thinking about the human drive that allows talented people to go forward and accomplish great, extraordinary things. It is that drive plus the support of exceptional teachers who were willing to work with them to open new ways to get to where they needed to be.”

Residents in the Fish Creek theatre for the Music Appreciation program

Residents in the Fish Creek theatre for the Music Appreciation program

Jill found the topic particularly poignant. “The program was about musicians who had to find another way to play due to a disability. In a way, we also had to be creative to find an alternative way to bring the program – in fact almost all of our programs – to residents despite being affected by the COVID safety protocols.”

“I love being in the same room and engaging with residents during the program, and I stay afterwards to talk with them and get their reactions and suggestions. But this time we used Zoom and another piece of software that allowed me to interact with them from my home and have control over the Fish Creek theatre’s computer to play my video clips. It was a little complicated, but we wanted to make the program as dynamic as possible without me actually being in the same room with them. And we held two sessions to enable as many residents as possible to take part.”

Since COVID protocols were put into place, Jill and the creative facilitators at both communities have found innovative ways of bringing music to the residents. Students from the Mount Royal Conservatory have performed for residents via phone and Zoom. There have been several concerts outside of the buildings on Canada Day and during the Stampede, the art studios are open and programming is expanding daily.

Jill is also planning a series of virtual concerts beginning in August, which will run until musicians can come into our communities.

Mark DeJong (left) and friends perform jazz favourites for residents of Fish Creek

Mark DeJong (left) and friends perform jazz favourites in June for residents of Fish Creek

“The concerts will be held in real time, giving residents an opportunity to engage with the performers,” said Jill. “The first concert will be with two of Calgary’s top musicians Aaron Young and Denis Dufresne, who will play a mix of old standards and newer material that will connect with residents. Then in September, we’ll have Mark DeJong and Mark Limacher perform jazz classics.”

Those special performances, together with regular video programming in the theatre, and workshops starting up again in the art studios, bring a large variety of programs to residents at a time when getting out to performances isn’t yet possible.

“United has always had a commitment to lifelong learning. It’s encouraging to see the variety of programs growing every day,” said Jill.

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Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities Garrison Green or Fish Creek

The restrictions on visiting mean that tours aren’t available right now, but don’t hesitate to talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange for a tour once we are able to do so. If you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community, send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a future visit. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

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When the Calgary Philharmonic (CPO) performs at United’s communities, it’s a special event that attracts a lot of attention. But when one of the performers is the granddaughter of a resident, the performance adds a little something more.

Helen van der Sloot keeps the beat as Maria plays a short piece for her

Helen van der Sloot keeps the beat as Maria plays a short piece for her.

This week, United Active Living’s partnership with the Calgary Philharmonic was front and centre when four violinists from the orchestra performed an hour-long program of well-known classics from Bach to Gershwin at United’s Garrison Green community. Residents from Garrison Green and Fish Creek attended the concert. In the audience was Garrison Green resident Helen van der Sloot. Her granddaughter is Maria van der Sloot, a first violinist with the CPO. Maria is a featured performer with the orchestra, has won numerous prizes and has performed throughout North America.

“I enjoyed the performance very much,” said Helen, after watching Maria play.

Maria was raised in a musical family. Helen was self-taught on the piano, Maria’s brother plays piano, and Maria’s parents both play violin. “Music is a family affair, and we would often get together at Christmas and play. My brother played piano, so naturally I wanted to out-do him, so at six, I started to play the violin.” Her brother now plays cello and is a composer.

Maria’s musical talent shines through her instrument. She studied at the New England Conservatory and the San Francisco Conservatory. At 27 she on the faculty of the Valhalla Summer School of Music, the Calgary Multicultural Orchestra and the Calgary Music Academy. She joined the CPO as first violinist last year.

Maria van der Sloot shares a personal moment with her grandmother, Helen

Maria van der Sloot shares a personal moment with her grandmother, Helen.

“I really enjoy playing in smaller venues like the Garrison Green community,” said Maria. “It’s much different than the concert hall, and I really enjoy the reactions when we play something everyone knows. It was very special to play here for my grandmother.”

The CPO is one of a dozen of United’s musical and cultural partners that bring professional performers into the two communities. For this concert, the CPO quartet, made up of Maria, Stephanie Soltice, Steven  Lubiarz and Lorna Tsai, performed a range of favourites that had the residents singing and laughing along.

“I love music,” said Helen. “I was so very proud to hear Maria play. I had tears in my eyes!”

Photos and videos by Sherana Productions.

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Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a visit. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

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Honens’ new Prize Laureate, Nicolas Namoradze, made a lasting impression on the residents of United’s Fish Creek and Garrison Green communities this week during an unforgettable performance that left residents speechless.

Honens Laureate Nicolas Namoradze performs in the Fish Creek theatre

Honens Prize Laureate Nicolas Namoradze performs in the Fish Creek theatre

Nicolas was named Prize Laureate last year during the 2018 Honens International Piano Competition in Calgary. He has since made his Carnegie debut with a sold-out show at Zankel Hall, and will perform at prestigious venues in London, Boston, Miami and Berlin.

“It was an emotional performance,” said resident Ruth Nelson. “The softer parts were so delicate. It brought tears to my eyes. It left me speechless. It looked like he was having so much fun, and we had a lot of fun listening to him as well!”

“I was just thrilled,” said resident Claire Weir. “I have never seen anything like it. I was absolutely amazed at how he played, and I was grateful that I had the opportunity to hear him.”

“I was transported into another world. The best thing I ever did was move to United where I can hear such talent,” said resident Mary Fenwick.

Nicolas played for an hour, performing works from English composer York Bowen, Russian composer Alexander Scriabin, German composer Robert Schumann and contemporary Canadian composer Alexina Louie, as well as some of his own compositions.

After the performance, Nicolas met with residents. “I really love doing this,” said Nicolas, when asked about playing at smaller venues such as United. “A lot of the music I played today was written with smaller audiences in mind. It is very special to be able to share this music in a more intimate setting. It’s much different than performing at the larger concert halls!”

Honens Laureate Nicolas Namoradze performs for United's residents “There is a real connection with the audience that you can’t get in a concert hall,” said Catherine McClelland, Honens director of artistic planning. “Nicolas has a unique charisma about him that makes an instant connection with the audience. He is well spoken and humorous, and is a well-rounded composer and performer.”

“Our partnership with Honens is into its 4th year, and it gives our residents an opportunity to experience world-class musicians in small, intimate, engaging performances,” said Jill LaForty, United’s music director. “Nicolas’s ability to use the piano’s range to its emotional perfection is extraordinary.”

Nicolas is in Calgary all week, and will perform at the Honens Festival, which runs today through Sunday.

Photos and video by Sherana Productions.

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

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Residents at United’s Garrison Green were treated to a woodwind and string quartet performance, thanks to the community’s partnership with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. The four professional musicians brought humour and a versatile repertoire to the community.

“Playing at United gives us the opportunity to perform in a small, intimate venue,” said violinist Stephanie Soltice-Johnson, who has played with the CPO for 33 years. “We play some 100 concerts during our 40-week season so getting out into the community to perform in smaller venues allows us to keep our skills sharp when we’re not performing with the full orchestra.”

“Plus, playing in a small group really connects us with the audience,” added David Sussman, who plays the oboe. David is in his 38th year with the CPO. “Playing in an orchestral environment is much different than playing chamber music. Chamber performances give us the opportunity to play solo, and to play a wide variety of music for the residents.”

The CPO has been a cornerstone of the city’s arts community since 1955. From the classics to rock and roll and broadway favourites, the CPO entertains Calgarians with a range of music to satisfy every musical taste.

“That wide range of styles is a big reason why the CPO is a good fit as a United Active Living partner,” said Jill LaForty, United’s music director. “The beauty of the CPO is that they have programming that appeals to every musical taste, and our residents, who also have varying tastes have been able to benefit from that range.”

One of the biggest benefits of the partnership is the opportunity for residents to experience the music both at the Jack Singer Concert Hall and in the more intimate surroundings of the United communities. For this performance, Stephanie and David were joined by pianist Cheryl Emery and cellist Tom Megee.

“Our residents attend the dress rehearsals the CPO holds prior to their performances,” said Jill. “We’ve arranged for some of the conductors and performers to come to our communities to perform and to discuss the music and its history with the residents who are very interested and engaged in the discussions.”

CPO musician David Sussman with resident Mary Fenwick

CPO musician David Sussman with resident Mary Fenwick

“It was pure joy listening to them play. I just loved it!” said resident Mary Fenwick, who is taking piano lessons at 93, and who performed with the Calgary Youth Orchestra a few years ago.

“It was perfection, brilliant!” said resident Joan Clark. “We are so fortunate to have them come here to play for us.”

“Unbelievable! It was my kind of music. I loved every minute of it,” said resident Kay Shimbashi.

Later this month, the CPO’s brass quintet will perform at United’s Fish Creek, and CPO conductor Karl Hirzer will perform and speak with residents of United’s Garrison Green community.

Photos and video by Sherana Productions

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

 

 

 

 


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Mount Royal Conservatory director Brad Mahon

Mount Royal Conservatory director Brad Mahon

Music has a big impact on our lives. Not only are songs memorable, but they often carry a social message. “Music has always been a vehicle for reflecting political or social issues of the day. Medieval songs – even nursery rhymes – were often used to express a political or social point of view,” said Brad Mahon, director of the Mount Royal Conservatory.

Mount Royal University is one of United’s cultural and educational partners. As part of that partnership, professors and musicians regularly visit United’s two communities, often providing residents with thought-provoking and interesting subjects to discuss. Brad recently visited United’s Garrison Green community to talk about music as a reflection of social consciousness.

 

Blues legend Charley Patton

Blues legend Charley Patton

Brad used the guitar to help explain that while the guitar existed in classical times, much of the music wasn’t written for it. Jump to the 20th century and the emergence of Delta blues and musicians such as Charley Patton and Robert Johnson. “Patton was the first true rock star,” said Brad. “He was a real showman, throwing his guitar into the air, playing between his legs. These early songs acted as historical records. Often, as with his song High Water Everywhere, recorded in 1929, these were the only records of major events and how people were affected. This song recorded the flood of the Mississippi River in 1927. It was a strong message about an important social event, not just a love song about teenage angst.”

Brad told residents about Big Bill Broonzy, a blues and folk artist of the 1920s, who used music to protest social injustices and race inequality.

“Such early singers later influenced folk singers Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.” Brad played This Land Is Your Land on the guitar, and encouraged the residents to sing along.

“In the case of Dylan and others, music supported the message,” said Brad. “Music was seen mostly as entertainment, but more often it was used to say something the writer thought was important. More importantly, the music and the message combined to evoke an emotional reaction in the listener.”

Jimi Hendrix in 1969

Jimi Hendrix in 1969

Brad noted that when Bob Dylan used an electric guitar for the first time in concert, fans weren’t pleased. And when Jose Feliciano rearranged the Star Spangled Banner at the opening of a baseball game in 1968, some fans wanted him deported. When Jimi Hendrix did the same thing at Woodstock in 1969, it was considered a turning point in music.

“Playing these songs for the residents brought out the emotional reaction they were intended to produce when they were first played in the 60s,” said Brad. “While some didn’t like it, I think many of them got the message that music – and the emotion it brings out – affects us all. Whether it’s a political message by Green Day, a hummable tune by Frank Sinatra, or a Beethoven symphony, they all elicit emotional reactions, and that’s the message I was conveying to the residents.”

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

 


You're Browsing Music

Music has a way of bringing up memories. That was the idea behind the latest Alberta Heritage Music Project between United Active Living and the Alberta Music Education Foundation (AMEF), which brought residents and students together at United’s Garrison Green community.

United and AMEF signed a partnership agreement last year that encourages the use of music to add a new dimension to traditional storytelling. This year, students from Bishop Carroll High School in Calgary worked with several United residents to interpret their stories together through short performances and videos.

Also this year, participants had the privilege of working with an Order of Canada recipient and legendary figure in the Calgary theatre community who also happens to live at Garrison Green. None other than Joyce Doolittle helped guide the performances. “They were very moving and very well done,” she said. “I made a few suggestions, but mostly to help the students feel confident in their decisions. They did an excellent job.”

In one emotional and heartwarming play 94-year-old resident Marjory Koop and student Grace-Anne Weisgerber recalled the last moments with Marjory’s grandmother when Marjory was just five years old. The scene was re-created by the students. “My grandmother was just 49. She had cancer and I remember that I used to go to her house to sit with her,” recalls Marjory. “I used to sing Oh Happy Day  to her. It was an old gospel hymn. That was our song. Her nurse called the family in and although my grandmother didn’t have the strength, she sat up and said, ‘I’m going, I’m going. Goodbye, goodbye’. She laid back down and was gone.  She was a big part of my life and meant a lot to me. I wanted to re-play that scene for the project because it was a memory that really stuck with me all these years.”

A completely different kind of story came from Louise Dean. She became an opera fan through her sister, who started listening to the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts from New York in the 1930s on CBC radio. Through an archival broadcast of an opera performance, Louise and the students recreated those moments when, with the help of her brother who faithfully set up the old crystal radio set each week, the two sisters would listen to opera using just one earpiece each.  “My sister and I really established a bond through this program. Music was a big part of my life. My mother often sang in the house, and she taught us an appreciation for music and dance.”

The students also told their own stories through play and music, about how music has influenced their lives. The weekly working sessions at Garrison Green over a period of a month were very meaningful for them.

“I was able to learn so much from people who have more life experience than me,” said student Amy Gulewicz. “I also felt there was a strong feeling of respect from both groups, which really brought us together.”

“The Heritage Music Project is really about relationships,” said facilitator Samantha Whelan Kotkas. “Music brings out memories, and this project tapped into some of those personal stories. This collaboration between students and residents in choosing the music to play and the stories to tell has created strong and lasting friendships.”

Photos and video by Sherana Productions

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

 

 

 


You're Browsing Music

United residents were treated this week to performances by Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artists, and the singers – among the best in Canada – delivered a wide range of old and new arias and duets.

“Each year we audition some 120 singers from across the country, and narrow that down to six or eight to join our Emerging Artist program,” said Mel Kirby, the program’s manager. “This year we chose eight to spend the next eight months with us to enhance their dramatic skills and receive ongoing voice training. It sets them up for their future careers in opera.”

Calgary Opera's Mel Kirby

Calgary Opera’s Mel Kirby

The performers mixed older pieces with two songs from the upcoming performance of a new opera, Everest, which Calgary Opera will premiere this week. Calgary Opera is one of several arts, culture and higher learning organizations that United Active Living has partnered with. Each partnership provides opportunities for residents to experience small, intimate concerts or events within their communities, and to attend outside performances. Calgary Opera conductor Kimberley-Ann Bartczak has spoken to residents at both Garrison Green and Fish Creek, and residents attend dress rehearsals.

“Performing for United really allows us to get out into the community,” said Mel. “We enjoy introducing opera to people in all age groups who may not have been exposed to it before.”

Marie Civitarese with Mel Kirby on piano

Marie Civitarese with Mel Kirby on piano

“It’s about community and sharing the music and emotions with the audience,” said emerging artist Marie Civitarese from Trail, B.C. “Opera should be accessible, and the new operas, which are often performed in English, help do that.” Megan Miceli from Mississauga, Ontario echoed that thought. “Mozart is still relevant, but new operas add more subjects that audiences can relate to such as the drama and emotion in the new Everest performance.”

Garrison Green resident Anthony Parel and his wife were very excited to hear the performers. “We went to Calgary Opera performances for 25 years but we haven’t gone recently because we don’t like driving at night, so when the performers came to Garrison Green, it was very nice. Such talented singers!”

Photos and video by Sherana Productions

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

 


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Johnny Summers on trumpet, with Egor Ukoloff on piano

Johnny Summers on trumpet, with Egor Ukoloff on piano

United’s new partnership with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra brought trumpeter Johnny Summers and pianist Egor Ukoloff to the Fish Creek community. The appreciative, packed theatre heard the two perform jazz and blues classics.

In the audience was Garrison Green resident Margaret Hails. Margaret is the wife of late jazz great Cliff Hails, who passed away in January. The two were married for 67 years. Their lives were filled with music. The two even cancelled their honeymoon in 1950 so Cliff could buy a tenor saxophone. Cliff also played the baritone sax, flute and piccolo.  At 26, they immigrated to Canada for a better life, and they settled in Calgary some 60 years ago.

Cliff Hails, right, speaking with good friend Tommy Banks

Cliff Hails, right, speaking with good friend Tommy Banks

“One of the first phone calls I received after following Cliff to Edmonton in 1957 was from a young twenty-year-old Tommy Banks, an up and coming piano player,” recalls Margaret. “He was going to book Cliff for a gig. Cliff and Tommy knew one another for about nine months. Musicians are like one big family! They became close friends and often played together.”

Years later, in the 1990s, Cliff and Margaret became good friends with Johnny Summers, who went on to form the Calgary Jazz Orchestra. Banks, who was a world-renowned jazz pianist and former senator, passed away just a week after Cliff.

The Jazz Orchestra will perform a tribute to Banks during the Orchestra’s first show of their season Oct. 21, and many United residents, including Margaret, will be in the audience.

Johnny Summers shares a laugh with resident Margaret Hails

Johnny Summers shares a laugh with resident Margaret Hails

“We first met Johnny in Hawaii,” said Margaret. “Cliff was playing with Neil Gow & the Five Knights and we instantly took a liking to Johnny. We’ve been friends ever since.”

“I was really nice to see Margaret here,” said Johnny. “I dedicated a song during our performance to Cliff. It was terrific to speak with her afterwards. Cliff and I played together at various jazz festivals and he was one of the great sax players.

“I really enjoyed playing for the residents in such an intimate setting. It is more authentic in many ways because our playing is much like having a conversation with the audience. Playing in a jazz club feels very much like playing in this theatre. I always like to have fun with the audience.”

And the residents liked what they heard. “I loved it. It was light and very professional,” said resident Alexis Beddoe. “I’m really impressed with the partnerships United has. I’m always surprised at the professional level at which they perform.”

“I loved the performance,” said Margaret. “I think a lot of seniors hear the word ‘jazz’ and they have an idea of what they will hear, but Johnny does a great job of interpreting the music and adding his own touches to the music making it a real joy to listen to.”

Photos by United Active Living, Video by Sherana Productions.

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

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Almost 100 United residents took part in the Honens Piano Competition and Festival last week in the largest programming initiative to date.

“Thanks to our partnership with Honens, our residents got to be part of the one of the premier musical events in the world!” commented United music director Jill LaForty. “They attended concerts live at Jack Singer Hall, watched several rounds of the competition live-streamed in our theatre, and even had a chance to hear and meet some of these brilliant musicians right in their own community”.

United threw open its doors to the larger Calgary community for two Honens encore concerts. The one at our Fish Creek community featured semi-finalist Megan-Geoffrey Prins from South Africa. Performing before a full house of residents, family, friends and several Calgary music lovers, Megan held nothing back. His program of challenging pieces from his semi-final recital on the community Steinway piano was topped off with a familiar Chopin Waltz.

 

chocolate cubcakes with a kitkat keyboard

A Concerto in Chocolate Major

After the concert Megan was extremely gracious during the wine and cheese reception. It was complete with chocolate cupcakes accented with an elaborate keyboard motif created especially by United chefs. Megan mixed with many of our residents and enthusiastically and generously answered their many questions one-on-one or in small groups. Some spoke with him about having followed the Honens competition for years.

The Honens week at United, which included eight concerts, wrapped up at 10:30 p.m. Friday night when almost a dozen residents were riveted to the large screens in the theatres watching the last of the final three brilliant contestants vie for the Honens crown.  “Honens is music at its best!” exclaimed Fish Creek resident Joan Patterson. “The pianists were all very special. It’s so great that United offers us this. I’ve always loved music, but I was busy raising my children. Now I have time to enjoy it.”

“Everyone at United Active Living – our residents and staff – are thrilled with the naming of Georgian pianist Nicolas Namoradze as Honens newest Prize Laureate,” said Jill. “We had an especially close relationship with the previous Laureate, Luca Buratto over the previous three years, and with our ongoing partnership with Honens, we look forward to hearing Nicolas both within our communities and in concert in Calgary at his various public performances.”

Namoradze, 26,  won the world’s largest prize for piano – $100,000 – and a three-year Artist Development Program valued at $500,000, which includes debut recitals in some of the world’s leading concert houses, concert opportunities with leading orchestras, professional management, residencies, and recordings. He already has an impressive performance resume, which you can view here.

“We are looking forward to showcasing Nicolas’ talent for United’s residents through our ongoing partnership,” said Honens president Neil Edwards. “While he has brought his formidable skills to major concert venues around the world, we’re looking forward to playing in the smaller, more intimate venue that United’s communities provide.”

Photo credits: Monique de St. Croix, Sherana Productions, Jeff Chan

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.