Vanier’s music department tends to close itself off from the rest of the world, with their own private wing of the school where they can practice and rehearse from sunrise to sunset. That’s why it’s nice when someone from the department reaches out and offers up their talents for the sake of the community. One such student has made a big splash both in the department and beyond; Peter Zhuang, a second-year classical piano student, has spent the past two years organizing and putting in motion a volunteer program for fellow students to visit a local nursing home in the area and entertain the residents with their music.
Performances take place every Thursday at the Jewish Eldercare Center, located in proximity to the Jewish General Hospital. The crowds are always small and the atmosphere casual, but the reception is always warm. Video footage shows residents watching and listening intently before breaking into a round of applause and enthusiastic cheers. After working tirelessly to promote this program and garner support, Peter has amassed a small but dedicated group of students who are now familiar faces in the senior’s residence.
One such student is Élyane Roy, a first-year jazz voice student. “They definitely benefit from it, because they don’t get much entertainment” she said in a recent interview with Vanier Television (VTV). “It definitely feels great to go there and provide that entertainment; and as a lot of people have said, music soothes the soul.” According to the Center’s website, more than half of its patients “suffer from one or more illnesses: Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, heart disease, stroke, Parkinson’s, diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and other diseases.”
Peter recently announced that the group has been officially recognized by the college and the music department, and a new VTV segment set to release soon should give the group some much-needed publicity. Of course, more help is always needed. If you’re a Vanier student with musical talents to offer, contact Peter at email@example.com.
Written By: Ian Down
Photo By: VTV
Originally Published: December 2015