By Anna Collins and Michelle Keong
Since 2008, the School of Music has partnered with the Health Arts Society to deliver the Concerts in Care UBC Ambassadors program. This outstanding program benefits community members by sharing accomplished student performances with audiences in residential care and retirement homes. To date, 112 graduate and undergraduate students have been selected by audition to participate in the program and presented 498 concerts throughout the Lower Mainland and BC interior.
“We see the Concerts in Care UBC Ambassadors program as a wonderfully inspiring and effective way to train musician citizens who contribute compassionately to the community,” says Dr. Richard Kurth, director of the UBC School of Music. “Their Concerts in Care performances teach them to connect as directly as possible with their audiences, and to be communicative and eloquent in their playing and their conversation with the audience.”
Hands-on learning opportunities such as this are vital for students’ training. They provide opportunities for students to refine their craft—teaching performance and communication skills, perseverance, confidence and professionalism—in addition to illustrating the transformative and restorative power of music.
“I truly believe that this program demonstrates the power of music and its healing qualities,” says soprano Eva Tavares, a 2016 UBC Ambassador. “Music makes an impact on human beings, and that impact stays with you throughout life. It marks the highs and lows of life in ways that nothing else can. This program proves that, and proved to me why my job as an artist is vital.”
In the coming year, the School of Music and the Health Arts Society aim to double the number of music students in the program as well as the number of concerts they perform. They will also integrate Concerts in Care into the curriculum, offering course credit and instruction focused on performance and communication skills attuned to this context. The tailored feedback, direction and guidance will help students redefine the goals of their performances and give them presentation skills to maximize the benefits they can share with their audiences in healthcare settings.
“Every year we witness how the Ambassadors grow and blossom as artist-citizens through their Concerts in Care performances,” says Kurth, noting the robust program has presented approximately 60 Concerts in Care events every year. “We would like many more students to be nourished by this transformative experience, and we aim for many more people and healthcare centres to be delighted and fortified by their concerts!”
We invite you to join us to help expand the program as much as possible. Over the summer, alumni will receive a special appeal from UBC requesting support. Every donation will help us to increase student involvement, local performances and tours. We hope that you will consider making a gift to this important program.
To get involved today, please visit our online donation page.