Abbotsford’s music project

By Julie Ireton

Chris White and Kerry Peterson-Beaubien, volunteers with Abbotsford’s Music Project, make musical magic in Abbotsford’s parlour. PHOTO: Pat Goyeche

Chris White and Kerry Peterson-Beaubien, volunteers with Abbotsford’s Music Project, make musical magic in Abbotsford’s parlour. PHOTO: Pat Goyeche

Start with a keen group of folks with a love of music, add a couple of ukuleles, penny whistles and a mandolin, top it off with an eager leader and you have a burgeoning music project that’s looking for more members.

“We wanted to offer this to more people. Everyone enjoyed it so much, there are others who would also enjoy it,” said Chris White, an Ottawa choir leader and community liaison at Carleton University’s radio station, CKCU.

Starting in mid-September, Abbotsford at the Glebe Centre will be introducing a new music project. Over eight weeks this fall, every Wednesday afternoon, the group will gather between 1:30 and 3:30 pm. It will cost $25 for Abbotsford members, and non-members will pay an extra $20 per session. The group would like to have about a dozen participants.
“We continue to try to make music the heart of activity at Abbotsford and this new program is a perfect example of how an idea takes on a life of its own when given enough time and space to grow!” said Pat Goyeche, program co-ordinator.

“With music, it’s the more the merrier. The reality is getting involved with music is a very healthy thing to do, socially, physiologically. It’s a form of expression.”

Last year, an ad hoc music group initially got together as a jazz ensemble that included a mix of men and women and a range of ages. White said the group evolved in a fascinating way.

“It turned out they weren’t really interested in jazz. So some different kinds of music were introduced including folk songs and some acoustic traditional music like Autumn Leaves and Farewell to Nova Scotia,” said White. He noted there are extra ukuleles to share and some of the members of the group have brought other instruments including guitars, recorders and a bell.

The music program will settle into Abbotsford’s parlour on Wednesday afternoons. White said the grand, historic building across from Lansdowne Park has a good vibe.
“It’s a beautiful space. It’s a comfortable environment,” said White.

White’s background includes several years as artistic director of the Ottawa Folk Festival. He’s an active member of the Ottawa South community and leads children’s choirs and a men’s choir. White said he’s looking forward to the new season at Abbotsford with the help of Kery Peterson-Beaubien, who is volunteering her time to the project.
Interested participants are encouraged to get in touch with Abbotsford, 950 Bank Street, a community support centre for adults 55+. It provides the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization, which includes a 254-bed long term care home.

Julie Ireton is a journalist who contributes regularly to the Glebe Report on issues affecting Abbotsford.

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