In an initiative aimed squarely at the health crisis, the Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil has organized a series of mini-concerts under the balconies of retirement homes. To bring a little sunshine into the lives of confined seniors, a quintet comprising Caroline Chéhadé, Ariane Bresse, Brian Bacon, Christopher Best and Gilbert Fleury and led by OSDL artistic director Alexandre Da Costa have visited residences and homes including the Chartwell Villa Rive-Sud residence, the AdvantAge and Émérite de Brossard, Promenades du Parc, Habitations Paul-Pratt, the Manoir Saint-Bruno and the Résidences Fleur de Lys Sainte-Julie.
“When we present our concerts on balconies for seniors who have been confined since the beginning of the crisis, we see faces that are illuminated and completely transformed,” Da Costa says. He and his OSDL colleagues felt the need to share their art with seniors to make their confinement less painful. He stresses the collaboration of the Longueuil Police Department in making the events run smoothly and in accordance with health regulations.
Da Costa is convinced of the benefits of the initiative: “From a scientific and medical point of view, it would be easy to prove that these concerts belong to the class of remedies and medicines for the soul. In short, musical therapy.” He evokes the feeling of distress, especially among the cloistered seniors, and says that the context of the current crisis shows how music is not just entertainment. “It is a fundamental spiritual need. An essential service.”
Also worth mentioning are the special requests that feature symphonic versions of pieces and songs dedicated to workers on the front lines of the pandemic. In this regard, we would like to highlight the program resulting from the collaboration between Da Costa and the Royal 22nd Regiment. This is a performance of the celebrated Amazing Grace paying tribute to the remarkable work of the approximately 1,300 soldiers who were deployed to Quebec’s CHSLDs as part of Operation LASER.
Also noteworthy are the concerts organized as part of the Longueuil’s online cultural programming to highlight the exceptional effort of hospital staff and all those who work on the front lines. These concerts offered by OSDL musicians in response to special requests from citizens are dedicated to the people who are on the front lines against COVID-19.
Les Balcons symphoniques concerts and special requests can be viewed at www.osdl.ca.