More than songs were exchanged over the blue fence which separated local musicians Ellen Braun and Mike Petroff from about 40 residents of the Bow River Senior Citizens Lodge during the open-air concert organized by artsPlace on June 8, 2020.
Memories, jokes, and quips were also playfully thrown back and forth between the two performers and their audience.
The warmth and charm of the artists reached beyond the barrier and brought everyone together in a shared experience of community despite fences and chairs set up apart.
“Everything is gonna be okay”, Ellen Braun gently sang to the public, happy to be in front of a live audience again. During these social distancing times, she missed the subtle interchange of emotions between her and the public.
Mike Petroff has been in Canmore for a while now and his connections with the Bow Valley run deep and strong. He was here when Canmore was a town populated with just 'miners and hippies', lived through the Black Friday when the mine closed, and witnessed the Flood. He remembers them all, people and times, and sings about them.
Canmore has seen bad days before, his songs remind, and we always came out the other side.
“Don’t you worry folks, we’ll be hugging soon!”, he ended his show.
As COVID-19 began to drastically change our lives and forced us to isolate back in spring 2020, artsPlace was honoured to be able to partner with local organizations to bring the arts and music to our vulnerable senior population during this challenging time.
In June, we organized two outdoor concerts in partnership with the Bow River Seniors Lodge. These concerts brought local artists – Ellen Braun, Mike Petroff, Suzanne Morley, Brad Bischoff and Scott Duncan – to the lodge for a precious moment of music and community sharing.
We were also happy to deliver Creative Kits to the residents of the lodge as well as seniors across the community, with the goal of bringing joy to their daily lives and sending a reminder that their community is here for them. Thoughtfully curated and packaged with utmost care, these kits included art supplies, reading material, and handmade cards from local youth.
Many community partners, volunteers and donors helped make these Creative Kits possible. artsPlace is grateful for the support of the Calgary Foundation and the partnership of Bow Valley Regional Housing, Canmore Public Library, Town of Canmore, Crowfoot Media, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies and Crock A Doodle.