For Virginia Stewart, music and writing are two sides of an artistic coin. We all have the capacity to learn and develop to the end of our lives. United supports opportunities for that to happen. Virginia is a perfect example of that. Shortly after turning 70, she earned a BA in English from the University of Calgary and is well known at United’s Garrison Green community for her poetry.
Last year, she penned a book of poetry called The Wayward Umbrella with the support of other residents who provided the artwork.
Virginia is also an avid painter. One of her colourful pictures graces the walls at Garrison Green.
But Virginia is also keen about her music, with a particular passion for song. In this week’s blog, Virginia talks about that lifelong passion.
My love of music is inherited from my mother’s side of the family. While my grandmother was her church soloist, my grandfather, among other things, played the pit piano in the days of silent movies.
When I think of my mother and her identical twin I think of their musical skills; singing harmony and teaching dancing.
During the depression they travelled up the west coast of Vancouver to Alaska on a
friend’s cabin cruiser, which they christened ‘Chautauqua’, entertaining at many fishing villages along the way. My grandfather said it was less expensive to finance the twins and their entertainment during the depression than to keep them at home in the city.
Well, what does this history have to do with United Active Living’s Garrison Green community you ask? Our community offers those that enjoy a variety of activities, the space and guidance for an enriched life. Here I am after years of singing in a church choir and joining my young sons in music lessons.
Yes, it was an enriching experience. As a result I have been able to contribute to the musical life of my new home, where we have established a singalong choir which meets every week under the guidance of a mother/daughter co-director to enjoy some of the old songs and to introduce our community to a casual evening of song.
Our little group has grown from about four or five enthusiastic singers to what now amounts to roughly twelve who enjoy singing. We even discover our voices raised in song in the elevator after these sessions!
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