Photo: Antoine Saito/La SAMS
Photo: Marie-Pière Durocher/La SAMS
Photo: La SAMS
Photo: La SAMS
Photo: La SAMS
Since its founding in 2009, the SAMS has presented nearly 7,000 concerts to more than 300,000 people in 350 healthcare facilities
Every year, over 850 concerts are given by 220 professional musicians who partner with the SAMS
Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits music can have on patients’ physical and mental health. Acting on the central nervous system, it can in fact alleviate severe pain, anxiety and muscular tension, impacts that have been proven to help patients with dementia, mental illness, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
Founded in 2009, the SAMS—the Société pour les arts en milieux de santé—presents concerts for people living in various types of healthcare institutions such as long-term residential care centres (CHSLDs), rehabilitation centres, seniors’ residences and mental health facilities. These concerts enable patients, healthcare workers and visitors to enjoy the pleasure and stimulation afforded by music. Since its founding, the SAMS has held close to 7,000 concerts in over 350 institutions.
The SAMS is Québec’s largest network of musicians offering concerts designed especially for healthcare settings. Every year, a total of more than 200 professional musicians present over 850 concerts, travelling to facilities located in Montréal and in many other regions of Québec in order to bring joy and consolation as well as reduce the isolation felt by people who are ill or have mobility issues.
The concerts, which are generally held in the common rooms of facilities and last 45 minutes, take place throughout the year, during the day or in the evening on weekdays or on the weekend. The SAMS also offers chamber music concerts in patients’ rooms in cases where they are not able to move about. Solo, in duos or trios, the professional artists involved perform selections that range from the classical repertory, jazz and world music to popular songs and folk music. Residents can also take advantage of certain music and dance workshops, as well as take part in creative projects like Cueilleurs de mémoires [Collecting Memories], in which seniors have collaborated with SAMS artists.
The musicians’ regular visits to healthcare institutions have resulted in meaningfully positive outcomes. “They smile as soon as I start singing,” declares singer-songwriter Jordane Labrie. “It’s as if, all of a sudden, they get back the spark that seemed no longer to be there. They feel good, and so do I. They sing “La vie en rose” and “La bohème” and they remember times that I myself have no knowledge of. Slowly, faces, words and smiles take over from the illness or disability for me. They are no longer patients, they are people who have had many years of experiences, people who bear a name—Jacqueline, Michelle, Denis, Paul, Mireille, Raymond.”
In these distressing times, the SAMS launched Les Capsules du Cœur, short videos that take seniors into the homes and daily lives of the professional musical artists who make up the SAMS. They have been a resounding success, as have Les Appels du Cœur, which have singers and instrumentalists perform a few songs for, as well as have short personal chats with, seniors over the phone. Concerts are recorded in healthcare institutions or elsewhere and broadcast live on the televisions in facilities and are available online, with a new one added to the selection every week.
“The musical performances that are held in health and long-term care facilities provide comfort and joy to thousands of Québecers every year,” says Françoise Henri, Executive and Artistic Director of the SAMS. “It is with the help and continued support from our generous partners, like Power Corporation, that we are able to continuously fulfill our mission of bettering the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our society, even during these challenging pandemic times.”