LeslieAshworth pc AliceHongPhotographyI am a Canadian violinist and composer, a Master’s of Music student at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and a recent graduate of The Glenn Gould School in Toronto. I am also the founder & director of the Suite Melody Care volunteer program.

Of all the things I had planned when COVID-19 hit,I have had to completely let go of orchestra and chamber music playing. I was studying at Rice in Houston when COVID-19 rapidly escalated and I had to return back home to Oakville, Canada. Though my academic classes and private lessons continued online for the rest of the semester, orchestra and chamber music were cancelled completely and similarly summer plans for orchestra/chamber music festivals in the U.S. and Germany have been rescheduled. I really miss the unique experience of making music together with my colleagues and, for now, I am enjoying the alternative of making recordings and syncing these together with friends.

I also run a volunteer program called Suite Melody Care (founded in 2012) which encourages young musicians and singers to give back to the community by performing in their local hospitals, retirement residences, and long-term care facilities. We give over 100 live themed, interactive performances annually for hospital patients and the elderly across Ontario, Iowa, and just recently in Houston. Unfortunately, all of these live performances have had to stop for the time being to protect our audience members and performers.

Once circumstances turn for the better, I look forward to resuming orchestra and chamber music studying, rehearsals, and performances. I will also be particularly excited for Suite Melody Care performances to continue and grow to involve many more young musicians and reach even more audience members in hospitals, retirement residences, and long-term care facilities across Canada and in the U.S.

In the meanwhile, in order to bring some happiness into the lives of hospital patients and the elderly during these challenging times, Suite Melody Care has launched a Virtual Performance video series for hospital patients and the elderly in Canada and the United States to raise their spirits. They can view these virtual performances from the safety and comfort of their own rooms and with their own personal devices.

I created the first of these videos to inspire others who will be submitting videos to me which I will be combining and sharing. We have just published the first results, “Spring Together”, a Suite Melody Care COVID Virtual Performance, on our YouTube Channel.

Suite Melody Care Inaugural COVID Virtual Performance links: Suite Melody Care Virtual Performance; "Spring Together"; Suite Melody Care website: www.suitemelodycare.com

For any musician, singer, or dancer interested in bringing some joy into the elderly and hospital patients’ lives, I would welcome you to contact me and find out how you can take part in the Suite Melody Care Virtual Performance videos. My email address is ashworthproductions@gmail.com.

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