One of the musical experiences that I have on a regular basis is rehearsing, having fun with and performing with members of Momentum Choir, which I have the pleasure of calling myself the founder of.
Momentum is a highly disciplined, professionally facilitated performance choir comprised of more than 60 musicians, all who live with a disability.
Here’s how Momentum began.
I started working for Bethesda (an organization that provides a wide range of supports and services to individuals who have special needs in Niagara and beyond) in 1992 and became Music Therapist in 1999.
The idea of Momentum Choir came to me during a drive between Port Colborne and Grimsby in around 2006. In Port Colborne, I had been supporting a woman who could sing Elton John better, in my opinion, than Elton himself. I left that session and was heading to another music therapy session in Grimsby where I was looking forward to supporting a gentleman that could sing Billy Joel in a very entertaining way.
Somewhere along that drive, the idea of Momentum Choir popped in my head.
In 2007, the Ontario Trillium Foundation gave Bethesda a three-year grant to begin Momentum Choir.
With the three-year grant, a successful application for charitable status and the creation of a board of directors behind us, Momentum Choir is alive and thriving. We’ve auditioned for Canada’s Got Talent. We’ve sung in the Rotunda at Parliament Hill. We’ve performed with Foreigner, the classic rock band who has sold over 80 million albums. We’ve packed concert halls and left audiences in tears, mainly because the celebration of humanity is portrayed so strongly when Momentum performs.
However, all of these achievements pale in comparison to the individual stories of determination, faith and braveness that are displayed by the singers.
Performing isn’t easy … well, let me rephrase that – performing well isn’t easy, especially when you live with a disability. Many of the Momentum singers have a level of anxiety that most people are oblivious to. Not only does it come when they’re performing, it comes when taking the bus, navigating a conversation, choosing their clothes for the day, wondering if they have the right change for a coffee.
That’s why I believe for the Momentum singers, it takes guts, a boldness and a courage that only comes when preparation and encouragement meet an achieved level of self-esteem. We work hard together. We laugh and cry. But when the music starts, disabilities take a back seat. It’s a beautiful thing.
If you like live music and want to see a segment of our community perform for you in a way like no other, you should experience Momentum Choir.
We have a show coming up on Sunday, Nov. 19, at Bethany Community Church where we’ll be performing with the Caverners, Canada’s premier tribute band to the Beatles.
The Caverners have a good following in Niagara and are also very entertaining — The Caverners and Momentum, a show you don’t want to miss.
Get your tickets here.