It’s a passion for music, and the sharing with others, that has prompted piano performer and teacher, Corey Francis, to contact as many personal care homes across the province as possible, to enjoy virtual concerts of his students’ performing.
Francis began the ‘Sharing is Caring’ incentive where the recordings of their recitals will be shared virtually with residents, with each month featuring a new recital of talent from his 66 students.
Francis, who grew up in the Altona area, is well known for his accomplishments on the keyboard; having accompanied many Sunday morning church services, he’s held the position of church music director and accompanied various choirs. Since living in Winnipeg, Francis has been teaching students part-time over the past 8 or so years in addition to working a regular day job.
However, in 2018 he started ‘Piano Expressions with Corey’ and by September of 2019, it became his full-time passion and profession, where he teaches private, shared and group piano lessons for beginner to advanced students.
Prior to pursuing his study of music professionally, Francis spent a number of years in health care services as well as helping to care for his ageing grandmother at Eastview Place, the personal care home in Altona. His heart for the elderly and love of music has come together beautifully with ‘Sharing is Caring’.
“It’s a really cool thing where it would never have come together had we not had the pandemic,” explains Francis. “We didn’t have any reason to record our recitals prior to this and the thought of that after the work of planning a live recital, well I didn’t even think of it.”
His piano students would perform special recitals for care homes at least 3 times each year, themed specifically around Christmas, Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day, where the children would dress up to the delight of the seniors. Having all the recorded material over the past year of the various performances he thought it was a good time to try to compile the recordings and try to reach out to the local care homes across Manitoba.
Through ‘Sharing is Caring’ Francis will send over 150 videos of students playing the piano to help bring joy to the residents of personal care homes across Manitoba until the end of June. As well as recording their music, his 66 students will be sharing in a variety of ways, including their artwork through the online site as well.
So far, Francis has received responses from about 20 homes in the WRHA (Winnipeg) as well as seven personal care homes in Brandon, Souris and Dauphin in Prairie Mountain Health. The three remaining Regional Health Authorities in Manitoba have signed up fully, enabling him to reach around 80 of the 130 care homes in Manitoba. The first of these monthly concerts starts Friday, January 22nd.
“I’m just really thankful to all of the students and parents for having a willingness to participate as I put this program together, and just everybody coming together to make it possible. It’s been very special,” he adds.
Written by Betty Sawatzky/Jayme Giesbrecht