Music helps soothe the soul

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Last Sunday, I was treated to an afternoon of music.

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As I sat and listened to Cindy McMaster play a full repertoire of her favorite songs, I was amazed at how much the music meant to me and the residents of Spruce Court in Norview.

I looked at the individuals sitting around Cindy. Some were singing, others were articulating lyrics to songs they knew, and most were keeping the beat with their hands or toes.

A resident got up and danced to the music with the activity coordinator.

For a little over an hour, I believe many of them were brought back to their youth as smiles formed on their faces as a familiar tune was played.

The musicians who come to play regularly, not just at Spruce Court but through the long-term care facility, are to be commended for their volunteerism and for bringing joy to so many.

Spruce Court is primarily for residents who are at some stage of dementia and music seems to be one of the things they have a connection to.

So far this year (since COVID restrictions eased) they’ve been treated to East Coast music courtesy of JJ Knott and friends, some western music from Jim Abbey and her friends, and Sunday, some blue grass music from Cindy McMaster.

I’m always looking for musicians to volunteer an hour of their time on a Sunday afternoon. If you are interested, please call me at 519-428-2107 or text me at 519-774-1482. You will be welcomed and when you leave you will have a new appreciation of the value of music for all.


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After my last column, I received emails from longtime Simcoe residents and they all wondered what had happened to our beautiful town. Most of these older residents will not shop downtown for several reasons. First, there aren’t many stores that appeal to them, and the common thread in the emails was that they didn’t feel safe.

I know the BIA and the Chamber of Commerce have tried many things to address the declining downtown with very little success from my perspective. The Friday night markets are popular, but will be a short-term addition and really won’t be part of downtown.

Last week I traveled along the eastern shore of Lake Huron, passing through Kincardine, Goderich and along the shore. Beautiful parks and waterfronts, thriving town centers and a welcoming atmosphere were observed as we walked the streets, toured the coastline and visited a summer theater. Surely there is something we could learn from these remarkable cities.

It will take the will of our county council to make a concerted effort to revitalize the downtown areas of this county, especially Simcoe.

There is no sense in throwing a lifeline after the person has descended for the third time. I believe Simcoe has collapsed twice, so there is an urgent need to revive our downtown.

Perhaps a public forum should be held to find new and creative ways to revitalize.

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