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Connecting Through Music

Throughout the past year, all aspects of our lives have been affected by the ongoing global pandemic. As many of us stayed at home to protect our loved ones and our communities, the pandemic has wreaked havoc through Ontario long-term care homes. In addition to the risk of illness, feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression are common amongst both residents and staff.

To help provide some comfort, we at the KWS are bringing the concert experience to those living and working in long-term care. During 2021, the KWS will provide free streaming services of our concerts to over 50 facilities in the Regions of Waterloo and Wellington. Appropriately titled “Connecting through Music,” in memory of Ken Murray, this program will give respite to some of our most vulnerable neighbours, while keeping everyone safe.

In order to make this program a success, we need your support. KWS donors Sherry Dupuis and Bryan Smale have committed to match each donation, dollar for dollar, to a total of $10,000. This campaign is in memory of Ken Murray, a music-lover and community leader who was passionate about advancing research in the field of aging, improving the quality of older adults, and who knew the positive effects that music has.

When Ken Murray’s first wife, Helen, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he grew to understand the challenges faced by persons living with dementia and their families and the importance of supporting quality of life. He reached out to the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Applied Health Sciences for help. In 1993, the University, in partnership with Ken Murray, founded the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP), now a major program within the Research Institute for Aging (RIA). Ken Murray’s vision of improving life for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their families and developing meaningful resources for their care partners saw no bounds.

In 2001, Ken Murray was appointed a member of the Order of Canada for his involvement and support of many community organizations, including the Universities of Waterloo and Guelph, the RIA, the University of Laurier’s Music Program and  the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. With Ken Murray’s wife Marilyn’s blessing, Sherry and Bryan recommended the Connecting Through Music Program be in his memory. Ken Murray believed strongly in the power of music for the wellness of everyone, especially those marginalised in our communities. He was a dear friend to the KWS and the entire music community and we couldn’t be more honoured by this thoughtful and meaningful gift in his memory.

Grandparents enjoying concerts with their grandchildren over Facebook or Zoom, friends reminiscing over a favourite piece of music, staff working in long-term care homes taking a few minutes to rest and connect with residents through music, couples sitting hand-in-hand enjoying a concert – these are the types of experiences Ken Murray would have loved. These are the experiences you’ll be supporting with your donation. You can make a difference in the lives of those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic!​

To learn more about Connecting Through Music please contact:
Michelle Cutts
Director of Development
mcutts@kwsymphony.on.ca