Video recording of Amy Van Wensem, Musical Director, leading the Voices in Motion choristers and student author Priscila Kumar in a song: dona nobis pacem (let there be peace).
On February 22, 2023, the Voices in Motion Choral Society and Greater Victoria Placemaking Network launched region-wide distribution of I Remember, a book by student author Priscila Kumar that focuses on the power of singing and what it can do for those dealing with dementia.
Founded in 2017, Voices in Motion (ViM) is an intergenerational choir that invites people with memory loss, caregivers, students, and community members to engage in the joy of singing and make new friends in a safe and supportive environment. High school students singing in the choir have learned how to actively engage people with dementia allowing those with dementia to participate fully. One of these students, Priscila Kumar, now a St. Andrew’s High School graduate, was inspired by her ViM experience to write and illustrate I Remember, a book about a grandmother named Margaret.
“This heartwarming story opens up dialogue about the isolation and stigma of dementia while offering an example of how we can change things for the better,” says Barbara McLean, ViM Board President. “I Remember gently shares Margaret’s sense of despair from not remembering the past and how through singing, her memories return with a heightened sense of joy and belonging.”
“The experience Margaret has of remembering is one that ViM choir members often experience as they share stories about the songs they are learning and about their lives,” says choir member Andrea Warner. “They rediscover who they are when the focus is not on the losses that come with dementia but rather on the strengths that remain– that allow them to laugh, sing, and develop friendships with one another in a safe and caring community choir.”
“ViM is thrilled to partner with the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network (GVPN) and the Pocket Places Project to distribute free copies of I Remember to neighbourhoods throughout the Capital Regional District with a view to raising awareness about dementia and memory loss,” says Barbara McLean. “This is a great way to help us connect with the community and share this fantastic story.”
“We are delighted that ViM is sharing I Remember with little free libraries around the region,” says GVPN board member Jessica Hum. “The Pocket Places Project helps promote, stock, map, and build little free libraries. It operates on the principle of ‘take a book – leave a book.’ The libraries are built and installed by neighbours and community groups, and run on the engine of placemaking.”
“Our region has the highest documented density of little free libraries in the country, with over 670 of these little book boxes across the CRD,” says Teale Phelps Bondaroff, volunteer lead of the GVPN’s Pocket Places Project. “Little free libraries are a fantastic way to share books and also vital information to members of the community and I’m always excited when they can help support and promote local authors and share beautiful stories.”
About the Voices in Motion Choral Society: www.voicesinmotionchoirs.org
About I Remember by author Priscila Kumar: https://voicesinmotionchoirs.org/i-remember/
About Little Free Libraries in the region: https://victoriaplacemaking.ca/little-free-libraries/
Photos and video (credit): Led by Amy Van Wensem, Musical Director, Voices in Motion choristers and student author Priscila Kumar, serenade the Little Free Library at the For Good Measure store in James Bay, Victoria.
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Guest Author Bio
Jessica (she/her) is the owner of Talking Circle Consultants, facilitating deep dialogue with our clients on Turtle Island by documenting stories through writing, audio and visuals. She has seasoned proficiency with interpersonal communication, community development, environmental and land-relationship planning.
Visit Jessica’s Blog / Website: www.talkingcircle.ca