The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has been a cornerstone of the city’s arts community since 1955. From the classics to rock and roll, to 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. This year they had the opportunity to go to concerts and hear everything from Beethoven to Johnny Cash.”
One of the biggest benefits of the partnership is the opportunity for our residents to experience the music both at the Jack Singer Concert Hall and in the more intimate surroundings of the United communities.
“Our residents are also able to 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 some of the music, and to discuss the music and its history with the residents. This is something that would not normally be available, and many are very interested and engaged in the discussion.”
Last week, CPO resident conductor Karl Hirzer spoke with residents of United’s Garrison Green community, and performed some of the music that would be played at an upcoming dress rehearsal.
“I spoke about two pieces that the CPO would perform – Mahler’s 9th Symphony and Mozart’s 21st Piano Concerto. We discussed the structure of the pieces, the composers and what was happening in society at the time the pieces were composed,” said Karl. “That really provides some interesting insights for everyone and helps open a greater appreciation for the music when they attend the rehearsals.”
For Karl, the intimacy of discussing and performing the music at United adds a dimension that is not normally available to a conductor on the stage.
“This is a very positive experience for me. The residents were very interested in the works and in me as a conductor. I found it to be an interesting learning experience especially since they were eager to know my thoughts on the music. One of the residents, Quenten Doolittle, used to play viola for the CPO, and we had a very interesting, wide-ranging discussion afterwards. It was very rewarding for me.”
“Many of our residents have been lifelong patrons of the CPO and as they get older it becomes difficult to go out to concerts,” said Jill. “We don’t want something that they once cherished to drop away. We try to enhance their quality of life by enabling them to once again take part in activities that have been important to them while also giving people who may have never attended concerts the opportunity to do so.”
“United Active Living has a rich and varied approach to assisted living where the arts, and particularly music, play a major role,” said Paul Dornian, CPO president and CEO. “Having collaborated with United over a number of years I am always moved by their residents’ passion for the arts and inspired by United’s commitment to facilitating great experiences for their residents. United Active Living is totally committed to providing the best quality of life experience possible, and they understand how important music is to that process!”
Earlier this year, the CPO’s woodwind quintet performed at Garrison Green, discussed the music and showed off their instruments to residents afterward. On June 14, there is an outing to CPO’s Pops in the Park at Heritage Park, which features pop, broadway and film classics.
United has partnerships with five musical organizations and two universities that provide our residents with a wide range of musical and higher learning opportunities.
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