LEAP stands for Learning Elders Art Program. This LEAP project is sponsored by the Clyde River Womens Institute, an affiliate of the PEI Senior Citizens Federation, the administrators of this Island-wide LEAP program. Funders of LEAP are the Department of Tourism and Culture and the PEI Government, under the direction of Hon. Robert Henderson. At Saturday’s Open House, Hon. Valerie Doherty and MLA for this district represented the Government; John Kenny, President of the PEISCF, and Linda Jean, their Executive Director brought greetings from this partnership. Betty Watts, President of the Clyde River Womens Institute spoke on behalf of the sponsoring group, expressing thanks to the partners of the LEAP initiative. Doug Gillespie, Chair of the Clyde River Community Council congratulated the LEAP program and praised the achievements of the choir.
Lisa Stead was the artist/teacher for the community choir, Her skill and leadership was largely responsible for the success of this community choir. She had a great way of encouraging the choir members and a gentle way of suggesting ways that the overall sound could be improved. The participants love to sing, and the song selections that Lisa chose were enjoyable and sometimes challenging which fulfilled the LEAP objectives. It is a program designed to reduce social isolation amoung seniors by providing opportunities for fun, socializing and learning. This community choir offered opportunities to meet all of these objectives.
Thirty four seniors, representing seven communities sang at the Riverview Community Centre on ten Monday afternoons this winter, so new friendships were created. Half of these seniors were from Clyde River and neighbours had a chance to get to know each other better. It was interesting that every Monday afternoon the choir met was a sunny afternoon, perhaps contributing to the good cheer of every session.
The comments from participants in the choir were positive. Many looked forward to the weekly classes, and all said they will miss them. Several would like to see a choir continued or started again next year. Since Clyde River is a community known for its love of singing and since the Riverview Community Centre is a lovely facility for such a program, this may just again. Just ask this year’s participants if they would recommend this, and the results would be overwhelmingly positive.
This year’s group participants were Jean MacLean, JoAnn MacPhail, Betty Watts, Ethel MacQuarrie, Sharon Sawyer, Hilda Colodey, Lois Rowell, Judy Rayner, Carol Murray, Jim Pound, Emily Bryant, Sandra Cameron, Jessie MacFadyen, Neil MacFadyen, Connie McCardle, Maisie Smith, Carol Richards, Sadie MacLean, Pearl MacEachern, Dianne Crozier, J’Nan Brown, Janet MacQuarrie, Pauline MacArthur, Wanda Whitlock, Kaye Morrison, Vans Bryant, Verna Lee Dalziel, Marion Copleston, Tony Reddin and Leila Nicholson. Four people had to discontinue due to illness or other committments.