For Ken, VIM was initially all about the singing. In grade school, when his voice was changing, his music teacher banished him from choir and sent him off to a supplemental math class instead. Many years later when he retired, he decided to challenge that teacher’s assessment and after several voice classes through the Extension Department at UVIC , he joined a choir and has been singing with at least one choir since. After being diagnosed with dementia in 2018, memorizing lyrics and driving to and from evening practices with his community choir became problematic and he reluctantly agreed to try Voices in Motion. It has been a fateful decision and he has not looked back. He LOVES the singing, can remember the lyrics, enjoys meeting other members facing similar trials, and appreciates Erica and Rick for their encouragement, enthusiasm, and passion to improve the lives of those living with dementia through music and community.
For me ViM has always been about so much more than music, although I am surprised by how much I enjoy singing together and my appreciation for Erica’s selection of hopeful, inspiring songs. As Ken’s dementia progresses, meeting new friends and enjoying new activities becomes more difficult. ViM has helped us stay socially engaged and connected with others facing similar concerns. Rick and Erica’s community building activities during COVID were a lifeline for us. They enabled even technologically impaired members like us, to participate in ZOOM rehearsals, Happy Hours, Getting to Know You interviews, informative presentations from choir sponsors, and even a support group for caregivers. The latter has been a tremendous resource for me, learning best practices from those with first-hand experience.
Participating in VIM has shown us that music can be a powerful antidote to life’s challenges. We feel thankful to have met wonderful people in the choir who so willingly and honestly share their lives and hopes. We are not alone and for that we feel blessed.