Elora Singers partner with health care networks across Ontario

ELORA – This holiday season will be one unlike any in recent memory, at the end of a year which has challenged health care workers, communities, and families in unprecedented ways.

“As we enter the second wave of the COVID pandemic, The Elora Singers’ thoughts are with those who are working tirelessly to keep our citizens and communities safe and healthy, and caring for COVID patients with grace and compassion,” officials state.

Over the past two months the Elora Singers, under the direction of Mark Vuorinen, have recorded three new concerts for A Nativity Festival, their inaugural online holiday concert series and, in addition to reaching new online audiences, they are offering all three concerts to staff, patients and residents at hospitals, assisted living and long-term care homes, and social support service programs across Ontario during this holiday season.

“The pandemic pushed us to innovate and produce digital concerts, which has allowed us to reach new audiences across Ontario, Canada and around the world,” Vuorinen said.

“It has also allowed The Elora Singers an opportunity to share the gift of music with hospital staff, patients and residents who will be isolated from their families this Christmas in ways that would otherwise not have been possible.”

Elora Singers board chair Peter Barr said, “It was important for us to give back to our community through music.

“Financial support from our government funders, sponsors, patrons and donors since the start of the pandemic has allowed us to continue presenting The Elora Singers on a digital platform, and we wanted to pay this forward to those who deserve the gift of music the most.”

The campaign was launched in partnership with Schlegel Villages, which has 19 retirement and long-term care homes across Ontario.

“Many of these hospitals and homes have the technology to broadcast our concerts on their networks, so medical staff and patients may watch on TV screens throughout their buildings. It is a unique way for The Elora Singers to reach out to the community at a time when the healing power of music is so badly needed,” said executive director Laura Adlers.

Health care participants

Participating health care networks to date include:   Schlegel Villages long-term care and retirement communities; Chartwell long-term care and retirement residences; Groves Memorial Community Hospital, North Wellington Health Care and Wellington Terrace Long-term Care Home (Wellington County); Grand River Hospital (Kitchener); St. Joseph’s Health System (Ontario); Sunnyside Seniors’ Services (Waterloo); Cambridge Memorial Hospital (Cambridge);  Guelph General Hospital (Guelph); Hopewell Children’s Homes (Guelph); Headwaters Health Care Centre (Orangeville); Halton Healthcare (Oakville, Milton, Georgetown); Unity Health (Toronto); University Hospital Network (Toronto); Trillium Health Partners (Mississauga); Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH – Toronto); Michael Garron Hospital (Toronto) and their 18 health care partners; and over 400 long-term care homes across Ontario.

Festival concerts premiere over three weekends in December and will remain available to watch on demand until Jan. 4.

The first program, A Quiet Village (Dec 5), features Toronto-based harpist Julia Seager-Scott and Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.

The second – A Village Messiah – premiered Dec. 12  with excerpts from Handel’s Messiah and soloists from the ranks of the choir.

The festival concludes with what is always a cherished holiday event in Elora – A Festival of Carols (Dec. 19).

“In years past, all four performance are usually sold out, so The Elora Singers are pleased to share this program with their online audience,” officials say.

Passes for A Nativity Festival and tickets to individual concerts are available at www.elorasingers.ca.

All concerts are available on demand until Jan. 4.