Health Arts Society of Ontario

Our leadership team will be hosting a series of social events throughout the day to talk about the work we do in the spirit of Giving Tuesday.

The Concerts in Care Experience

Imagine yourself in a concert hall, excited to hear a much-anticipated string quartet play a concert. The musicians have just taken their seats, tuned and settled onto the stage. There is that moment of anticipation, preparation and silence as the audience and musicians prepare to take a musical and emotional journey together. For the duration of the music, you are transported outside of yourself into a bigger world, with melody, rhythm, and emotion. Now imagine yourself unable to easily travel to that concert hall, isolated in care, separate from your community. Have you lost the need to take that emotional journey, to travel to that world, simply because your body is older and your needs are changing?

Such is the case for thousands of Canadians, growing in number at a fast pace. Statistics Canada predicts that the population of persons over the age of retirement will double over the next 20 years. 40% of that population lives in Ontario. Our society is stronger when we are happy, satisfied and challenged, no matter what our health or living circumstances may be. As our population grows, so will the stresses on the infrastructures that support it.

The Health Arts Society of Ontario (HASO) addresses this issue with our Concerts in Care program. Our mission is to offer concert hall quality performances to people isolated in care facilities in Ontario. We seek to bring that transcendent concert hall experience right into the homes of the elders in our society, offering them that same valuable and powerful experience of being part of a live concert performance. Sharing in the experience of performance not only affects our state of mind, but it is also helpful in building community within the homes. It offers families and caregivers an experience to share. Research shows that listening to great music affects our stress hormones and offers a lift in mood and calm. All of this contributes to our audience’s environment where they live, work and visit.

* a monthly donation of above $10 offers one elder in care a season of concerts in their care home
* annual or one-time gifts support concerts with artists such as Jonathan Crow (Concert master, TSO), Jeanne Lamon (founder, Taflemusik), or the New Orford Quartet.

A Proven History of Success

HASO is a charitable organisation dedicated to the presentation of live professional music concerts for people isolated in health care. HASO is based on the model of the Health Arts Society (British Columbia) which was founded in 2006 by David Lemon and a group of like-minded citizens. Over 10 years, that BC chapter has produced over 7000 concerts to residents of long-term residential care throughout that province. Occupational therapy and recreation staff make valiant efforts to provide programmes but the cost for them is increasingly stripped from already pressed operating budgets. HASO strive to see this situation change and its Concerts in Care programme is an agent of that change. The Health Arts programme is now national, represented coast-to-coast through a family of not-for-profit organisations. To date the Societies collectively have presented over 11,000 concerts across Canada, touching the lives of thousands of isolated elders.

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