BY DANIEL SAILOFSKY
From sculptors and singers, to painters and programs, Donna Farmer and the people who live at Residences Symphonie know how to have a good time.
While Farmer, an animator at Symphonie, may have been the primary group leader and coordinator of this year’s event on May 31, it was the residents who stole the show.
“It’s lovely seeing these people try new things and express themselves through art,” Farmer said. “It’s also a way for them to be with other people and work together.”
Farmer says it is her mission to bring joy and fun to all the residents.
“Most residences have physical activities, which are important,” she said. “But I believe we’ve found a good balance between body and mind, heart and soul.”
At this year’s show, residents’ paintings and sculptures were on display as the Symphonie choir gave a concert.
As each musical number was performed, from Broadway classics like If I Were a Rich Man to such ballads as Hallelujah, Farmer could be seen dancing, conducting and encouraging the choir and audience to enjoy themselves.
“Since I became a caregiver for my mom many years ago, I’ve always been a big advocate for activities for seniors, and this is why.”
Much of the art came courtesy of the husband and wife team Barry Goldenberg and Ann Goldberg. Barry crafted four sculptures; Ann four paintings.
Goldenberg, 62, suffered a stroke 16 years ago and he does not have the use of his dominant right hand.
“It’s a bit harder with only one hand, but I can do it,” Goldenberg said. “At first, I couldn’t even talk, so I’ve come a long way.”
“Barry was a dentist before he had a stroke, so he knew how to carve and was great with his hands,” Goldberg said. “I’ve watched him tie a knot with one hand.”
Shirley Spector’s painting Happy Hydrangeas was particularly eye catching, with its bright colours and intricate details.
“It was my first time painting, so I just tried to do my best, pick out colours and have fun,” Spector said.
“Food, activities, shows, it’s like a cruise ship here,” said Nessa Corber, whose mother and aunt are both residents at Symphony. “I already told my mom, once I’m her age, I can’t wait to come here.”