Kevin Anderson

KAPUSKASING – At the base of any great community are its volunteers. Kapuskasing is no different, and one local music group was recently recognized for its efforts with a $4,000 grant from the Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO) so it can continue its good work.

“De tout cœur – From the Heart” is a group of volunteer musicians, which provides music for the elderly and people with disabilities and for any other non-profit group seeking to raise funds to be redistributed in our region.

“We try to fill a void in our communities caused by the lack of engaging activities in senior residences, hospitals and community organizations. We break the solitude of the elderly, often separated from their families, by offering free quality musical performances,” said group member Diane Renaud. “We also provide our services free of charge to non-profit organizations in our region who are raising funds. We are known for our bilingual repertoire which appeals to multiple generations, as well as for our professionalism and for the quality of our performances. We aspire to provide a pleasant afternoon or evening to the often ‘forgotten’ generation.”

The group is known for its song selection and the relaxed atmosphere created by offering a musical show that is well orchestrated. The shows also provide an opportunity for people to visit friends and family residing in community facilities.

The audiences often exceed 50 spectators when the group performs in long-term care facilities, and the impact the group has had on the quality of life of many seniors is undeniable. Between 200 and 500 people usually attend fundraising shows.

“From the Heart – De tout cœur” was created by a group of retirees looking to channel their energy into music. Early on, we realized that playing together was insufficient. The group members needed to gain a purpose – a sense of personal satisfaction and giving back to the community,” said member Robert Renaud. “As a result, the group decided to perform in long-term care facilities and to perform for fundraising activities.”

Since 2015, the group has given 66 bilingual shows in the region at facilities including North Centennial Manor, Nursing Home, Sensenbrenner Hospital’s long-term area, Golden Age Centre, Drury Place, KDACL, St. Patrick’s Parish (fund raising), Daughters of Isabella (Canadian supper during Winter Carnival), Âge d’or Amicale 50+ in Cochrane, Centre de santé communautaire francophone de Kapuskasing and Nativité-de-Marie Parish of Moonbeam.