Opera Kelowna brings the music to the people

Opera Kelowna brings the music to the people

The society is serenading seniors as a way to give back during this difficult time

Opera Kelowna’s artists are using their talents to bring smiles to the city’s seniors in a series of performances titled Sidewalk Serenades.

The chair of the board of directors for Opera Kelowna, Allan Neilson, said they knew there are many residents who don’t do well with being cooped up inside.

“This initiative is really an opportunity for us to find out what we can do for our community during this time because there are a lot of people in the community who don’t do very well in a shutdown situation like this,” he said.

“In particular, one of the groups that are vulnerable to isolation and the mental health issues that come with it are our seniors. So we decided to find a way to bring them some joy.”

Neilson added they know long-term care facilities are hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks across the country, so they’ve been extra careful with their performances.

Opera Kelowna put on the first performance for Sidewalk Serenades on April 24. They put on a second performance at Glenmore Lodge on April 29. Neilson said the singers each prepare their favourite songs and perform those, instead of having a prescribed setlist. He also said each performance has a different number of singers each time, depending on the songs and the location.

“It’s not great right now, especially in these conditions under which we’re living, but this is something to hopefully help them feel better and brighten their day and let them know that despite all that’s going on right now, there’s still this intrinsically beautiful art-form called opera,” Neilson said.

He added that the Sidewalk Serenades is a great platform for their artists to keep performing.

“As you know, all across the country and various performing arts groups, there’s a lot of anxiety right now on the part of singers and performers who just can’t do what they were born to do, as well as the financial implications of not being able to perform but (Sidewalk Serenades) gives them a way to still do what they do best.”

Neilson said the group’s main priority is to sing to residents at seniors’ care facilities but other residents can also request a serenade in their neighbourhood, provided Opera Kelowna’s singers are available to do it.

He said the pandemic has been devastating not just for Opera Kelowna, but for many other performing arts groups throughout the country.

“We had a very exciting 2020 season that was supposed to kick off in May and go through the summer, but we’ve had to postpone it for the next season. We’ve also had to put on hold our training program for emerging artists,” Neilson said.

“It’s been difficult… besides having to cancel the bulk of our season, our sponsorships and grants have also dried up. Everybody is going through a downturn in terms of what they can support these days. These are difficult times and we need the community now more than ever, but in the meantime, we really wanted to make the best out of the situation and give back to the community.”

For more information on Sidewalk Serenades and to suggest a residence for a serenade, visit Opera Kelowna’s website.

READ: RDCO hosts Okanagan Shines Spring Poetry Contest

READ: Ballet Kelowna feeling the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP searched for a suspect in Polson Park following an assault on a woman Thursday, Nov. 26. (Morning Star file photo)
Public warned after woman assaulted in Vernon’s Polson Park

RCMP on the hunt for suspect, described as in his 30’s

The Okanagan Quality Life Society which usually gives tours of Okanagan Lake to seniors and shut-ins on its boat Heaven Can Wait has created a virtual tour video in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which shut down the tours in 2020. (Morning Star - file photo)
Vernon society launches virtual boat tour

Okanagan Quality Life Society normally gives tours on Okanagan Lake on its boat Heaven Can Wait

The Wilson’s Landing Fire Department holds its Christmas Santa Run Food Drive from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7. (Photo submitted)
Westside fire department holding food drive

Annual Wilson’s Landing Fire Department Christmas Santa Run Food Drive goes Monday, Dec. 7

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

City of Armstrong Public Works Yard. (Google Maps)
Armstrong city staff threatened in snow removal complaint

Community services manager says ‘veiled threat’ is believed to have been flippant, but is being taken seriously

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

The Rutland IGA is located in Willow Park Shopping Centre at 590 BC-33. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Customer asked to mask up, throws hot coffee at Kelowna IGA employee

The woman grabbed cat food on her way out when she refused to wear a mask

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

Police service dog Fitz helped track and rescue a lost hiker and his dog in Kelowna. (Kelowna RCMP)
Okanagan police dog Fitz dies of cancer

Fitz recently helped locate a lost hiker in the Central Okanagan

Resident wants City of Salmon Arm to take action to eradicate rat population in town. (File photo)
Salmon Arm resident demands action to eradicate rats

City posts more information on social media, will consider more action at budget time

Most Read