Personal Stories

Enriching residents' lives through music

Step inside five seniors’ life journeys that they transformed into beautiful pieces of music.

If there’s one thing these five Amica residents have in common, it’s their unwavering love of music, coupled with a passion to share their inspirational stories. The Lyrics and Legacies project pairs accomplished musicians with Amica residents to turn their life stories into original, professionally produced songs.

At Amica, our discovery process with residents helps us learn about their histories, personalities and passions, so we can tailor our life enrichment programming to their unique preferences and needs. Telling their stories in song not only re-ignites the residents’ sense of pride and leaves a legacy for their loved ones; it deepens the understanding that team members have for residents.

Residents put their heart and soul into these pieces, re-living their experiences and sharing cultivated wisdom with listeners. Which of these stories speaks to you most?

The Performer

Herb Williams, a natural performer, and known by many Canadians as a SuperDogs host, lent his piano-playing talents to this song. The piece, created with songwriter Katie DuTemple, is inspired by his Grandpa Williams’ catch phrase “To rest is to rust.” The lyrics encourage others to live life to the fullest, whether they’re nine or ninety-one!

Herb loves nothing more than sharing his love and knowledge of music with fellow Amica residents.

The Trailblazer

Stan Klees, co-founder of the Juno Awards and part of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, is lovingly known as the “Genius in Blue Jeans” by his peers. Drawing on his lifetime of experience with writing songs, he worked with accomplished songwriter Murray Foster to create this piece—an upbeat country song inspired by Stan’s contributions to the Canadian music scene and his valued time in the industry.

The Believer

Toni Lombardi has a strong and spiritual connection to music. She created this heart-warming piece with songwriter Lisa Patterson, inspired by her love of singing, opera and religion while growing up in Italy. It features Juno-nominated vocalist Yvette Tollar, and a string trio comprised of Alex McMaster, Amanda Penner and Brielle Goheen.

Today, Toni loves sharing her passion for music with her family of three siblings, three children and three grandchildren.

The Explorer

Jean Bache, the top singer in her residence’s happy hour program and an active member of the glee club, has loved music since she was a toddler. Fast forward several years to when she met her late husband Jack—they discovered that they both took great pleasure in being on the water, so they decided to buy a boat. They shared many adventures at sea making wonderful memories, and this song, co-written by Kate Suhr, is a tribute to him and their love of sailing.

The Romantic

Ron Benwell has been part of choirs for as long as he can remember, and has even performed at Massey Hall! He chose to write his piece about his one true love, Marlene, their home in Rexdale, and good times with his neighbours and friends. Ron is the lead vocalist on this song, co-created with accomplished singer & songwriter Sarah Hiltz, plus supporting musicians Nathan Gray, Devon Henderson and Raphael Roter.

Listen to the full tracks here: