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The Waltzing Matildas brighten the day of Grand Avenue Village seniors

"Playing brings a sense of life into both sides, the performers and the audience," Newsom said. "It's an uplifting thing."

COCHRANE— Singing sweet tunes for community seniors, a local band held a surprise performance for Grand Avenue Village residents.

The Waltzing Matildas, made up of local performers Jamie Newsom and Valerie Hudson, performed for the senior residents at Grand Avenue Village on Thursday (April 9).

"The people engage with the music and it brings some happiness to them," Newsom said. "There were lots of smiles on their faces and we're just trying to do our part and put a smile on their face for a short period of time."

The goal of the musicians was to bring some laughter and joy to the residents who are not allowed visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic due to emergency public health measures and recommendations that restrict visitors to senior residents, long-term and continuing-care facilities.

Newsom and Hudson played on the ground level with Village members watching from a distance or their respective balconies.

The Waltzing Matildas normally plays two or three times a week, Newsom said, and they were looking for any chance to get out and do their part to help people in the community.

"It's a little bit different though in terms of what we're used," Newsom said describing how a performance takes on a different experience with social distancing rules applied. "As a performer, you thrive on the interaction with the audience. You don't get that back-and-forth with the audience where we try to get them singing and to be part of the show as much as possible.

"None of that really matters though because you can still see the smiles on their faces and that's what's really important."

The senior residents' concert was the first time The Waltzing Matildas have performed since the COVID-19 outbreak arrived in Alberta in early March. Newsom said he's performed a lot over the years but sent a note to Hudson after the Grand Avenue Village event saying that it was of the performances that had him feeling the most alive.

"Playing brings a sense of life into both sides, the performers and the audience," Newsom said. "It's an uplifting thing."