Raising Voices - Music and People Living with Dementia
with Bob Anderson and Ruth Watkiss
During this workshop you will be taken through a typical rehearsal of the Mississauga Festival Choir’s family choir Raising Voices. Raising Voices includes individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease or a related dementia, their caregivers, youth volunteers from a local high school and Mississauga Festival Choir volunteer mentors. Ruth Watkiss, Certified Music Therapist with Alzheimer Society Peel and renowned choral conductor Bob Anderson will provide participants with tips and strategies for starting their own dementia-inclusive choir.
Bob Anderson holds Bachelor of Music and Education Degrees from the University of Western Ontario, where he studied choral conducting with Deral Johnson, and a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Cincinnati. He performed with the Elmer Iseler Singers for four seasons, and taught in the Peel District School Board for 25 years, retiring in 2016. His award-winning Cawthra Park SS Chamber Choir enjoyed collaborations with the Toronto Symphony, Cirque du Soleil, the
Mississauga Symphony, and the Rolling Stones.
Bob is the founding director of Resonance, a non-auditioned choir for youth and young adults ages 15 to 30. He also conducts The Ontario Male Chorus, and leads Raising Voices, a choir for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.
Ruth Watkiss is a Certified Music Therapist with the Alzheimer Society Peel providing therapy services at its Respite House and five Day Program locations, as well as overseeing the iPod program, assisting with Raising Voices and directing Memories to Music. She has been working at the Alzheimer Society Peel for 15 years and has dedicated her career to empowering individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia through music.