A big Thank you to the Manitoba Arts Council for funding Artists in Healthcare’s ‘Taking the Music Rural’ grant for live music programming in the Brandon area.
The Johnston Group has supported the St. Boniface Hospital Atrium concert series with $5500. So that’s awesome!
With great sadness we advise you of the passing of our Board Chair, Tom Carson, on November 15, 2022. Tom joined the Board in January 2004 and assumed the role of Chair in April 2006.
His vision and passionate belief that the arts could transform the patient experience inspired us all. He led with the utmost integrity, intelligence, and care. Every project put forward that might make one patient or staff feel better about their day, was endorsed with enthusiasm.
He loved the live music program, Art at the Bedside, and the Art in Hospital donation program. He loved the arts in all their forms and personally knew the difference they could make in healthcare. But beyond understanding the magnitude of difference the arts could make, he dedicated his time and knowledge to this without reservation.
To learn more about Tom and his life, please see the attached obituary, which ran in the Winnipeg Free Press on November 26.
Tom Carson will be dearly missed.
Please see Tom’s full Obituary HERE
Donor-funded arts program aids in recovery for thousands annually
When Ernie Jones takes something on, he gives it his all. Now retired, he taught at a local elementary school for 32 years. He has bowled in the same league for the past 62 years (and with the same team for the past
46!). Jones took up crocheting as a hobby and has since made 450 afghan blankets, all of which have been gifted to friends, family, local charities, or anyone who crossed Jones’s path who could use a warm blanket.
So, when Jones heard the news that his leg needed to be amputated, he faced it the same way he has with everything else—with determination.
In July 2020, Jones’s big toe developed an infection and started to swell; to play it safe, he went to an urgent care facility. His toe needed to be amputated, but the bad news didn’t end there—Jones discovered he had kidney failure. After taking steroids to help his kidneys, he started experiencing elevated blood sugar levels. At this point his vascular surgeon at HSC told him that his foot would never heal and that the blood flow wasn’t strong below the knee. They would have to amputate his leg.
It was suggested that Ernie sell his house and move to an apartment before the surgery. After careful consideration, Jones’s strong will prevailed. “I’m not going to sell my house; I’ve lived here for 75 years! I’ll learn to live with the amputated leg,” he recalls. This same determination led to Jones asking a nurse for a walker shortly after his surgery so that he could go to the bathroom. After a visit from a physiotherapist, Jones was given permission to try and, just hours after surgery, he hopped to the bathroom with the walker. This show of strength led to daily walks with HSC staff, and, eventually, a prosthetic leg for Jones.
The road to recovery can be long, and in Jones’s case, he stayed in the Rehabilitation Unit at HSC for five months. During this time, he discovered the Artists in Healthcare program.
Artists in Healthcare brings live arts to patients receiving treatment in oncology, palliative care, rehabilitation, and dialysis. The programs provide important benefits for patients, families, and staff as an oasis from stress and anxiety. Artists in Healthcare provides the healing .power of music to over 120,000 patients, more than 8,000 staff, and over 100,000 visitors to HSC annually.”
One day, Jones was in his bedroom when he heard a guitar playing down the hallway. Upon investigating, Jones found Sam Singer, one of the Artists in Healthcare musicians, playing guitar in the lounge. Singer invited him to sing along, asking which songs Jones would like him to learn. Singer had heard from several staff that Jones sang in his church choir and was the former president of an opera association. Immediately, a bond formed between them, and Singer agreed to learn to play Jones’s requests if Jones sang with him.
Their musical group—aptly named the Rehab Renegades—grew to include two other patients,
Earl and James. The group decided to write their own song and record it before Jones was discharged. The band grew such a following at HSC that they created band t-shirts to sell, with proceeds supporting the HSC Foundation.
Artists in Healthcare is proudly supported by Gendis Inc., a locally owned and operated commercial property management company, which is currently celebrating its 90th anniversary.
Gendis Inc. President and CEO James Cohen is no stranger to the power of music. From learning guitar as a child, to performing in garage bands in high school, to graduating from university and attending the prestigious Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, California, Cohen has always known the value of music. Ten years ago, his band, James Cohen and the Prairie Roots Rockers, signed with a Warner Music Canada affiliate label, and charted nationally with two of their songs, So Long Sweet Deception and These Long Nights. Recently, the band joined the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on stage at the Centennial Concert Hall.
“I know the incredible healing power of music and how it can unite us,” says Cohen. “This program touched me. It is tough being in the hospital, and I hope Artists in Healthcare brings healing and happiness to those
who need it.”
Jones is grateful for the Artists in Healthcare program, and the memories and friendships that were created as a result. “If it hadn’t been for Sam coming along when he did, it would have been a very difficult and challenging time recovering,” says Jones. “Music is food for the soul.”
To donate to The Gendis Inc. Artists in Healthcare Endowment Fund supported by James Cohen and the Prairie Roots Rockers, please call 204-515-5612 or 1-800-679-8493 (toll-free).
Artists in Healthcare Manitoba Annual Report 2020 – 2021:Here is the Artists in Healthcare’s newly designed Annual Report –
with Huge thanks to Bounce Design and Chuck LaFleche.
Here is what some St. Amant staff are saying about Artists in Healthcare:
“Music, most especially online performance with Erica during this period has been relaxing as well as creating fun moments for our residents. Often times, the period tend to be engaging as some of the residents on my unit sing along and interact with the musician to make requests of their choice of music. It also brings back good memories, as can be observed by their facial expressions full of smiles when some old tunes are played. I believe this is a laudable project that need to be supported.
AHS E/W join Music in Healthcare sessions Monday – Friday. The music tends to relax and calm our clients especially those who are bored for not being able to go out of the unit because of the weather or being smoky outside. It also enables them to participate as a group or individually in their rooms and for them to see their friends from other units on the screen.
Well, I work with a lot of individuals who love to sing so they are very happy to join in and start singing. One of my “singers” not that long ago suffered a stroke, so not only was the music good for him to lift his spirits but by him trying to sing it started to work his mouth muscles ( so almost like a physiotherapy).
I have individuals who will dance in her chair when music starts and another who moves her foot to the music and another who moves her hand. So again, not only giving them obvious enjoyment but encouraging movement to people who do not have a wide range of motion
I have one individual who loves all the goldy oldies like Johnny Cash and Elvis but when she hears a song she likes and doesn’t know ( usually a more current song) she will ask what it is and if we can add it to her IPAD playlist. So, she’s getting exposed to new things she may not have otherwise.
When the music is playing the group is together everyone is enjoying the music together and sharing in the same experience. It’s just a fun time.
As they say music is the universal language so what better way to be inclusive.”
This is a great opportunity for the people we support to participate and enjoy in a therapeutic activity. Music provides a variety of experiences, from uplifting , calming, engaging in community and social settings. Virtual music has brought people together in a time where meeting in person just isn’t an option.
For Paul Simon lovers, Aaron Shorr will be presenting a free concert next week at the Lyric. Aaron has been playing at St. Boniface Hospital and CancerCare MB with Artists in Healthcare for well over a decade.
I’ve been hard at work restarting a project that is near and dear to my heart. I fell in love with Paul Simon’s music in my teen years, and just a few years ago launched Still Crazy: The Music of Paul Simon. Prior to the pandemic, we were looking at some tour dates around western Canada, and some in Europe, but alas the world turned upside down, and things were put on hold. Continue reading