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A reflection on volunteering with Suite Melody Care

My most significant volunteer contribution to date is being a member of Suite Melody Care. Since July 2015, I’ve been performing piano for seniors in long-term care facilities in Oakville and Mississauga.

Being a part of SMC is a unique and bittersweet experience. The majority of the residents are usually suffering from physical or mental illnesses. The venues I visit are not always happy places. However, when I begin to play, I see their faces light up. I can hear them singing along to their favourite songs. After every performance, there's always an audience member who thanks me for the beautiful music. Sometimes they tell me what the songs remind them of, and I get to learn about their lives. I've met a 70 year old woman who still creates beautiful pastel paintings. I've spoken to a resident whose brother was a pianist when he was alive. I've heard the stories of so many people who I otherwise would never have met.

Being a part of SMC also challenges me. I have to make time to continue learning new pieces every month. I have to be creative in order to think of fun themes that encompass all my pieces. I also had to learn how to present in front of audiences that may have difficulty hearing or understanding what I say.

Piano has played such a huge role in my life. I began lessons when I was only five years old. I love music so much, and when I play for the residents in long-term care facilities, I can tell they do too. Suite Melody care has given me the opportunity to take something that I love, something I’ve worked on for almost my entire life, and use it to give back to my community.

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