Helping People with Dementia through the Power of Singing

Type of post: A Cappella Showcase news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Rosie Chales
Status: Current
Date Posted: Sun, 20 Nov 2022
Arranged by Jordan Travis, our amazing chorus director, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah has been performed by A Cappella Showcase at many events and concerts, along with Paul Simon’s Feelin’ Groovy.  However, on Tuesday, October 4th, these two classics had a very special meaning as we began our weekly rehearsal by helping a very meaningful organization.

Margaret Campos, one of our lovely members, presented an idea to the chorus that could potentially help us bring joy and peace to persons with dementia and their family care partners through VRx@Home, a virtual reality (VR) at home intervention.

Her daughter, Dr. Jennifer Campos, PhD, is a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Multisensory Integration and Aging. Besides the many impressive positions she holds, Jenny’s research focuses on understanding age-related impairments and on how virtual reality and simulation technologies can be blissfully helpful. While conducting a study with VRx@Home to explore whether VR experiences can enhance communication between people with dementia and their family care partners, Jenny thought of the power that music and singing enjoyment can have on an aging population and asked her mom if A Cappella Showcase could possibly help.

Since this Virtual Reality system is head-mounted, it gives persons with dementia the freedom to be transported to alternate realities such as being on a beach or attending a concert. It may also have the potential to improve interpersonal relationships between persons with dementia and their family care partners.

Our chorus is dedicated to lending a hand to organizations that genuinely help the world to be a better, safer and healthier place and therefore, sang this beautiful package with all its heart for this wonderful cause.

Sit back and enjoy our heartfelt performance which was filmed by Dr. Raheleh Saryazdi, Postdoctoral Fellow, KITE, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, who visited the chorus on that particular Tuesday evening. Leader of this highly meaningful project, Raheleh was thrilled that we accepted to help through the power of song and harmony.