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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.”

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Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at 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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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

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at 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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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

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at 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.

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Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

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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

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at 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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“The true beauty of music is that it connects people.” – Roy Ayers, American funk, soul and jazz composer

United continues to connect music to people by partnering with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra to expand the wide range of music available to residents of the two communities.

The Calgary Jazz Orchestra (CJO) began 14 years ago as the brainchild of jazz musician Johnny Summers. At the time, Calgary was lacking a jazz orchestra, so Johnny brought together two dozen of the best musicians. “These are world-class performers,” said Johnny. “We have all grown throughout the years and we are dedicated to giving Calgary the best musical experience with every concert we give.”

The Orchestra gives six concerts each year at the River Park Church in Marda Loop.

“United is one of our first partners,” said Lacie Marchand, CJO concert manager. “It’s a way to expand our audience and give residents a unique musical experience. I think people see jazz as mainly background music, but watching jazz performed live can be an involving, emotional experience.”

Johnny agrees, adding that attending one of their concerts is like going to an art gallery. “You see how the various artists in the gallery create an emotional attachment to the viewer. It’s the same attending one of our shows. Our musicians create emotion with sound. For the audience, a live performance offers an authentic, real experience that incorporates a range of emotions including humour and just plain fun!”

Johnny often rearranges popular music for the concerts into funk, soul and pop versions. For instance, Disney’s classics are reimagined as jazz pieces, and their annual Christmas show combines traditional Christmas music with a jazzy flare, with popular Frank Sinatra tunes.

“”We’re really looking forward to our partnership with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra,” said United’s music director Jill LaForty. “Music is important to our residents. We offer a wide variety of musical genres both in-house and at various music venues. CJO musicians will perform three concerts this year for United residents. The first will be at our Fish Creek community in September and feature Johnny on trumpet and Egor Ukoloff on piano. Afterwards, our residents will have a chance to mingle and talk one-on-one with the musicians. These types of performances are unique to United’s communities.”

“It really means a lot to me as a musician to play for an audience and watch their reactions,” said Johnny. “I watch their faces – their expressions, the laughter, the smiles. The applause is genuine and the excitement for us and for our audience is genuine. It’s why we do what we do.”

Photos by Calgary Jazz Orchestra

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at 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.

Contact us here!

 

 


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Combining music with storytelling is the premise behind a new project between United and the Alberta Music Education Foundation (AMEF) that brought residents and students together at two performances at United communities.

United and AMEF recently signed a partnership agreement that encourages the use of music to add a new dimension to traditional storytelling programs. The result was two amazing performances involving residents of United’s two communities and students from Bishop Carroll High School in Calgary.

“This was a unique way to bring important stories to light that might otherwise have not been told,” said Samantha Whelan Kotkas, a facilitator on the project. “We asked residents for a favourite song from their younger days and then asked them what the song reminded them of. Then we paired students with the residents to create a skit around the story, which incorporated the music. The result was highly entertaining!”

83-year-old Sonia Eisler from the Garrison Green community used the 1967 song What a Wonderful World to recall visits to B.C.’s Harrison Hot Springs and the wonderful times her family had there. “I was a little nervous about telling my story but everyone was so encouraging. They made it a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it!” said Sonia. “Music has always been a big part of my life. It was nice to hear the talent and gifts that the students brought to the performances.  While I was reluctant at first, this experience has been inspiring and I’m going to become more involved in some of the other events Garrison has to offer.”

The students not only supported the stories the residents had to tell, but displayed an amazing range of talent on their own. Student Katie McMillan, backed by musicians Aaron Young on guitar and Denis Dufresne on violin, sang an emotional rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah for a friend who had recently passed.  Amy Gulewicz used the Beatles’ Hey Jude to talk about music being more about emotion than the notes, Michael Nimegeers and the students performed Everybody Wants to be a Cat from the play the Aristocats, and Jack Storwick talked about his love for collecting vinyl records after attending the Las Vegas play Love, featuring the Beatles’ music. “A lot of work goes into things we take for granted,” Jack told the audience. “After hearing that album, I appreciated how much work it took to create it. The lesson for me was, never take anything for granted.”

Garrison Green’s Lil Tyler and student Amy Gulewicz performed a short play based on the 1936 song It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie. Lil recalled a time when she was eight when an aunt became engaged, but then was heartbroken when the man called off the engagement in a letter, and even asked for the return of the ring. “This project was a terrific idea,” said Lil. “That song was popular at the time so in my mind that event is tied to the song. Later, when Hitler came to power, that song was tied to something much bigger.”

 

Fish Creek resident Agnes Rewucki used video to recall a trip to India by ship, and while onboard, she became known as an unbeatable ping pong player, which she re-enacted for the appreciative audience.

 

 

And Fish Creek resident Ernie Orford and Michael Nimegeers recalled Ernie’s love for the violin, but his family couldn’t afford one so he turned to the harmonica, which Ernie played for the audience. Ernie recalled that he later purchased a violin through the Eaton’s catalogue, and he became a self-taught left-handed violinist performing at small house parties.

 

AMEF chair Rolf Bertsch, a long-time friend of United, suggested the project as a way to bring older adults and students together. “AMEF did a similar project several years ago, but this one was so successful that I see it expanding to include other older adult communities where the arts are an important component of their philosophy.”

United’s music director, Jill LaForty, who saw the project through from its inception, saw the relationship-building that happened among the communities and the participants to be one of the most important aspects of the project. “For residents who came to our final presentations, they saw their neighbours in a whole new light. They saw some people who had been very quiet, suddenly expressing themselves or they discovered a talent, like Ernie playing the harmonica, that they had no idea was there. And the closeness that developed between the students and our residents in some cases will definitely continue long after this project is just a memory. Creative expression and relationship building – that’s what this was about.”

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at 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.

Contact us here!


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United has signed a partnership agreement with the Alberta Music Education Foundation (AMEF). Based in Edmonton, but with programs throughout the province, AMEF “provides funding and innovative ideas to Alberta’s music students and teachers.”

United’s first project with AMEF is the Alberta Heritage Music Project that brings students and older adults together to develop stories that are generated by memories linked to a particular song or piece of music from each of these two generations. The stories will then be turned  into plays, poetry or music that reflects each of those stories.

“Music is an important part of the programming we provide to residents at United Active Living communities,” said Jill LaForty, music director at United. “One of the reasons this project made sense for us is that we’re already into inter-generational storytelling with our residents through the Life Writing project with Mount Royal University. This was an opportunity to build on that success using the additional elements of music and drama and to involve some residents who are passionate about music. We know that everyone has a story to tell and this seemed like a particularly creative opportunity to engage our residents give them the opportunity to work with some very gifted young people.”

Resident Ernie Orford with student Michael Nimegeers

Resident Ernie Orford with student Michael Nimegeers

The project was suggested by Rolf Bertsch, who is well known to residents in his role as music director and conductor of the Calgary Civic Symphony, and his teaching work at the Mount Royal University Conservatory.  The project started in February and involves five students from Calgary’s Bishop Carroll High School and five residents of United’s Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities.

“The project connects the two generations through the sharing of musical memories,” said Joel Windsor, secretary, AMEF. “The older adults will share the music they grew up with, and compare that to what the students are listening to today. Those stories and memories from both generations will then be presented at performances in April at the two communities.”

The Heritage Music Project is part of an ongoing AMEF project that has been conducted in past years in Cochrane, Red Deer and Fort McMurray to provide an opportunity for music appreciation for all ages.

Student Brian Heckel records a story told by Garrison Green resident Lil Tyler

Student Brian Heckel records a story told by Garrison Green resident Lil Tyler

“This project is different from the other projects AMEF has done, ” said Jill. “Not only do the older adults share their stories, but the students do as well, and both generations will take part in the final performances. This mutual storytelling is something that one of the facilitators, Samantha Whelan, has brought to the project, and what’s interesting about the stories is that they sometimes bridge the two generations and contain common themes. Their life experiences overlap despite the passage of time.”

“Intergenerational learning used to happen in the home,” said Samantha Whelan Kotkas, who is co-facilitating the project with musician Aaron Young, who is adding all the music live. “That doesn’t happen much anymore so with this project, the two generations are coming together to tell their stories. Music helps trigger those stories. It’s fascinating to see how closely the stories told by the older adult and that of the student resonate together. That happened spontaneously and will be reflected on stage when the stories are told in April.”

“There is no distance between the generations,” said Samantha. “This project really demonstrates how similar we all are.”

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at 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! 

Contact us here!

 

 

 

 


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To meet Luca Buratto, you wouldn’t think this unassuming, quiet, 25-year-old has an immense talent as a world-class pianist. Yet when he sits down to play, the listener hears something extraordinary.

“I’ve never seen anyone play Beethoven without sheet music. That’s extraordinary!” commented one resident who was one of more than 100 residents who heard Luca play at United’s Garrison Green community.

Luca played for 75-minutes, performing works from 16th century English Renaissance composer William Byrd, and German composers Ludwig van Beethoven and Robert Schumann. Here’s a small sample of Luca’s performance.

Luca Buratto and Garrison Green resident Mary Fenwick talk about the music

Luca Buratto and Garrison Green resident Mary Fenwick talk about the music

“The reaction I get from playing to a small audience is wonderful,” Luca said. “It’s very rewarding for me. Music is a common language, so for me, the music creates a close connection with the listener no matter their age. Playing here, the atmosphere is more informal compared to a large concert hall and I really enjoy their reactions.”

After the performance, Luca met with residents to answer questions and get to know each other. Luca, who lives in Milan, Italy, was named Honens Prize Laureate in 2015 after the renowned Honens Piano Competition narrowed the field of more than 100 contestants worldwide. Since then he has travelled the world, performing in such famous venues as Wigmore Hall in London and Carnegie Hall in New York. Next month he will play in Berlin’s famous Konzerthaus and in April with the London Philharmonic. Luca’s appearance at United came just after his performance of Rachmaninoff with the Calgary Philharmonic.

Honens president Neil Edwards, left, shares a laugh with Luca Buratto

Honens president Neil Edwards, left shares a laugh with Luca Buratto

“We want to make music as accessible as possible,” said Honens president Neil Edwards. “Our partnership with United gives us an opportunity to bring such a rare talent to residents in a smaller, intimate surrounding. For the past three years, we have worked with Luca to fine-tune his artistry and further develop his career.  The Honens International Piano Competition is now one of the world’s premier classical music events and we are proud that we are an important part of the Calgary music community. This is home!”

The Honens Piano Competition is held every three years, and is one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the world. 2018 is the year another Honens Laureate will be named. The quarter-finals will be held in Berlin and New York in March, with the finals in Calgary in late August.

 

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at 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! 

Contact us here!

 

 

 


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Have you ever wondered who wrote that tune that you can’t get out of your head? Or maybe you are intrigued to find out more about the era that spawned its creation?

Mark DeJong speaking with residents at United's Fish Creek community

Mark DeJong speaking with residents at United’s Fish Creek community

United has expanded its popular music appreciation program utilizing the talents of  well-known local musician Mark DeJong.

“I love talking about music and its roots,” said Mark. “I taught jazz history, pop history and western classical music at theUniversity of Saskatchewan, Rutgers in New Jersey and Mount Royal University. I get to share my enthusiasm with people who can really appreciate the history.”

Mark’s first session was on the history of the Brill Building in New York. Haven’t heard of it? You may not have known that Elvis was not the first to record Hound Dog, or that Carole King was a writer before she was a singer. But you have heard some of the hundreds of pop hits its writers and studios created in the sixties with artists like Ray Charles, the Shirelles, the Righteous Brothers and … Carole King.

The Brill even created its own unique sound called Teenage Symphonies, where the vocals were larger than life, and strings and other symphonic sounds were introduced.

“I have always liked sharing the music and the stories around it,” said Mark. “For older adults, I feel that in many ways they are more familiar with elements of the music than I am. They grew up with it.”

Mark agrees that listening to the music of your youth can transport you back in time.

“Music is a memory trigger, no doubt about it. I’ll talk about the recording techniques and the background to a song, but when I play it, that’s when you get the toes tapping and the ‘I remember when…’ from the audience.”

Mark met Jill LaForty, United’s music director and the originator of the music appreciation program while attending a concert at the Bella Concert Hall at Mount Royal University.

“At that time, I’d been running the music appreciation program for about three years, with mostly a classical music focus,” said Jill. “Residents liked the concept so much that they asked that we broaden the material to include Jazz and Pop music. Mark had already been doing the occasional talk for our residents as part of our partnership with Mount Royal, so they were familiar with him. I felt that Mark was the perfect person to expand the program.”

Not only is Mark discussing the origins of Pop and Jazz with residents in his monthly program, but once in awhile in comes in with his sax and a pianist and performs from the American Songbook, a collection of the most popular and influential Jazz standards from the early 20th century.

“Listening to music with a group of people is always enlightening,” said Mark. “As soon as they hear the first chords, I know that the music means something special to them.”

 

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at 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! 

Contact us here!