Guelph Glee: A New Music Program for Adults
On Saturday at noon, I picked up my daughter from Guelph Glee– a NEW choir/music group for adults with special needs. “I need to bring a tambourine next time,” Talia told me. “It will help me stay focussed.”
“Ok, Tal. We can get one,” I said. “But you’re really focussed when you sing and you have a beautiful voice.”
She does. In fact, Tal loves singing everything from Somewhere Over the Rainbow to Fearless by Taylor Swift. That’s why we were so concerned when she aged out of the children’s choir a few month’s ago.
Here’s the background: For the past few years, my daughter has enjoyed a weekly choir for kids and teens with special needs. Facilitated by a music therapist and offered by a children’s treatment centre, it’s an excellent program. And Tal adored it. She also loved seeing her music friends each week.
When she turned 19, Talia was no longer allowed to enrol. Poor Tal kept asking when she could sing with her friends again. Heartbreaking. Through emails, phone calls and meetings, I asked (well, begged) that my daughter be allowed to continue in the program.
Long story short–I struck out. Talia was still barred from choir because of her age. Now, here’s where the story’s happy ending kicks in. After trying to change a system that doesn’t bend, I decided to get creative instead. So I asked the children’s choir director if she would teach adults. Her answer? “Yes!”
Together we tackled barriers like finding a suitable space and finding other participants. A friend created a gorgeous Glee flyer for us. Through word of mouth, Facebook and email lists we distributed the flyer. And my daughter (a social media guru) Facebooked her friends with the good news.
Now Guelph Glee is going strong. I’m thrilled. And so is my daughter. In fact, Guelph Glee is so popular it may be offered at two different times.
It’s frustrating when we see gaps in services, supports and opportunities. But when we join together–our sons and daughters, families, and community members–we can dream big and create what we want. Do you have a success story to share? In your community, did partners work together to create something new and innovative?