Music with Michael – by Sophie Yendole

It has been a priority for Michael since we met to be together with friends around music so every two weeks for the last 5 years, Michael has been meeting with a small group of good friends to play and listen to music. Our group has grown over the years to incorporate favourite song choices, personalizing favourites, trying out new music and listening to each other’s stories about our days and weeks. We’ve really been experiencing how music connects us to each other through memory, seasons and important moments both joyful and challenging.

We started out meeting at Michael’s but it was agreed that sharing locations might be a fun idea to accommodate people’s needs and allowing everyone to have the experience of hosting friends at their homes. Opening doors to each other’s homes has opened up welcoming new friends now and again and having the opportunity to get out into the community more regularly.

The music jam has grown and developed over the years in some small and subtle ways along with big and beautiful ways too. Most recently, it dawned on us that meeting on a Wednesday every two weeks gives us the opportunity to take a few minutes to plan other activities for Michael and his network of friends like getting out into the city and experiencing activities together as a group. Sometimes it takes a change in a group to initiate new ideas! One of Michael’s beloved long-time workers moved away so this introduced a new voice into the group with fabulous suggestions and ideas about how to grow and foster the connections formed. We quickly jumped on this idea of using the last five minutes of our time together to facilitate plans for the same window of time for the Wednesdays in between our biweekly music jams. So far the crew have gone bowling and been to the Aquarium, who knows what we might think of next…

We can feel rooted with people and this is a beautiful thing, however, introducing new people can bring about ideas you’ve never thought of (even if you’ve been a facilitator/mentor for many years!) The collaborative nature of coming together around a creative activity has allowed Michael and his friends to spark other ideas about things they love to do- Alternate Wednesdays may soon become even more anticipated than our beloved music jams!

On a personal note; when we talk about reciprocity, this event is a perfect example. If it weren’t for Michael’s passion for music, I would not be half the ukulele player I am now and for that – Thank you, Michael!!