Residents, Composer Work Together to Create New Music

Composer Denis Nassar works with residents to compose new music
Composer Denis Nassar works with residents to compose new music

Denis Nassar is a favourite with residents at both Fish Creek and Garrison Green. Not only is he an award-winning composer, arranger and pianist but his connection with his audiences makes his performances memorable. Denis, who is a full-time music instructor at Prairie College in Three Hills, has introduced a very popular and fun musical composition experience to the residents. Instead of simply performing, Denis asks residents to participate in composing a new song.

“I will assign a number to each of the notes in the major scale. Each resident chooses a number and that corresponds to the notes I play,” said Denis. “I play them in the order I get them, create variations of that melody, add chords and together we compose a song on the spot. It’s a very special experience!”

Residents of Garrison Green worked with Denis last Saturday to create their own song. “While we can perform live again, the number of residents permitted at each performance is limited, so I performed in two sessions, with the residents in the first session contributing to the first half of the song, and the residents in the second session contributing to the second half. I think the end result is fantastic!”

“Being able to participate in creating the song was really terrific,” said Garrison Green resident Jackie Naylor. “He wanted us to be a part of the program, not just sit back and listen. The song was quite harmonious. Everyone participated. It was a very positive experience. He also played a number of popular show tunes and songs from old movies, which had everyone laughing and humming along.”

Denis and residents wrote a song before COVID, but he was unable to play the completed version for them until just recently. “There was no live music for more than a year, but when I returned and played the song for them, it immediately brought back the memory of the day we created it.”

Denis says he often plays songs in concerts that have special memories for him. “Music transports us back in time and brings out specific memories. Photos do that as well. What if we wrote a song that captures a moment in time – a musical version of a photograph?”

To listen to a composition that residents at Garrison Green co-created with Denis, click here.

Find out more about Denis and his work here.

Photos by Denis Nassar, Pixabay

Videos by Sherana Productions

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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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