Stories to Songs

With the generous support of New Horizons for Seniors , The Crescent Arts Centre in partnership and Crescent Fort Rouge United have launched the second series of  “Stories to Songs: Winnipeg 2021”

The Project:  To select and pair-up local Seniors with songwriters/artists to co-author a song that the Senior wants to share about their lives.  It could be about their lives, or some events that happened during their lives, or a person/place in their lives that they would like to share in a story.  During the pandemic we discovered that seniors are open to and capable of using online media to connect:  Skype, Zoom, FaceTime and FaceBook.  The ideal is face-to-face interaction but if this cannot occur, online connection is totally doable and produces the same outcomes.

The goal of the artist and senior, is to have a performance piece that both the artist and the Senior feel strongly connected to and over which they have strong ownership i.e.e, each party is emotionally invested and spiritually enlivened.   The intent of the project is full inclusion with the Senior and high value is achieved through the interaction – the process of sharing and clarifying information, creative engagement, and agreeing on product and performance.    Artists are selected with this in mind.

Outcomes: There will be a performance of the song as part of a live concert or virtual event (depending on Covid-19)  with other musicians and Seniors from the program, as well as family and friends. Artists will perform the songs they wrote and it is anticipated that if it cannot be a live in-person performance, then it will be live-streamed on Youtube and Facebook for the public.  Most importantly, the intent is to reduce social isolation and loneliness which can be a chronic issue for some seniors and certainly during the pandemic is more widespread and in some cases a crisis.  It also provides cognitive engagement and is additive to self-esteem. 


1.     For the Senior – a chance to share and interact with someone who is genuinely interested in their story.   In many cases, a life long friendship. past experience shows that the artist and Senior often retain a friendship after the project is completed.

2.     Artistically for a songwriter, it is an enriching and inspiring experience to be let into someone’s story.  The music/art that can result from such an experience can be wonderful. 

3.    Community loves to hear the celebration of someone’s life, especially when the source is there to share in the celebration.   The concerts resulting from this project promises to garner an enthusiastic audience and will be made available online afterwards. 


The Songwriter takes the story/information from the Senior and creates a song or performance piece about that story.  In this day of Covid-19, the engagements will be done online using Skype, Facetime, Zoom, or any other method of connection online. 

The Recreation Directors or contact person for the Senior: will be our conduit to the persons within care facilities.  Their roles will be:

  1. Recruit a volunteer Senior who would like to share some part of their lives in this way.  
  2. Coordinate with the selected songwriter/composer for the online sessions.
    1. Number of sessions will be 3 (minimum).  (The artist can arrange for additional ones with the Recreation Director if needed)
    2. Length of sessions.  Approx 30-45 minutes. (This is only meant as a guide)
  3. Helping to share/promote the live-stream event to the participants and their family and friends.  

The Crescent Arts Centre and Grant Simpson Productions and Tim Osmond will produce the concert and live stream the show for the general public.

  Online meetings between artists and Seniors:  May – June 2021

Gather songs, video clips and final product from artists: End of June 2021

A show by all the songwriters of the project and their subjects is being planned for when Covid-19 restrictions will allow.

Project Team

Sandi Howell:  Producer,  Artistic Consultant  (Crescent Arts Centre Winnipeg)

Grant Simpson:  Project Manager/Director  (Contracted by Crescent Arts Centre)

Tim Osmond, Artistic Director   

Project Contact Information:

Senior Recruitment:  Grant Simpson  Phone 431-373-3108

“Working with Jaxon and sharing my memories as he created the music and words of his song was a wonderful experience that I will remember forever.”  – Howard Swan  (Winnipeg Senior)

“My time spent engaged in both conversation with my counterpart Howard Swan, and in the creative process of composing and recording my song, were hours I will cherish for the rest of my career and life.” 

– Jaxon Haldane (Winnipeg Songwriter)

Watch Videos of our Stories to Songs projects