Reminiscing on my Residency: Part One
May 6, 2020 was my very first event as part of my tenure as the City of Kitchener Artist in Residence. It was Music Monday and two groups of elementary students at Trillium Public School in Kitchener eagerly awaited a junk music, songwriting workshop.
I’ll admit…I was a bit nervous.
I dreamed up this residency project where I would tour around Kitchener engaging residents through various community events and creating music that spoke about identity, neighbourhoods, placemaking, and other similar topics. Although I had tried the process out a few times – they were with people who had musical background. Here, I planned to go into the community advertising NO MUSICAL EXPERIENCE NECESSARY, just come and let’s write a song about your lived experience!
As we rolled out the process, the children were so engaged and excited to be creating music. It was the best first go I could have asked for. We decided to create a song with each group based on the trait of the month, which was resiliency. The students shared all the things they had learned about being resilient, including strategies to stay resilient in the moment of challenges in our life. They had a lot of very good advice and ideas.
Here is one of the classes practicing their song before the performance at a school assembly later that day…
I’m on a roller coaster ride
And I’m counting to ten
Gonna walk away, Distract myself, then talk it out
Do something that makes you happy,
Your HERO trait is to be resilient
This song, Be Resilient, is the first single off the album, Songs of Kitchener which features all the songs created in community during my residency.