Cynthia Friesen works for the BC Brain Wellness Program (BCBWP) as the team lead for the expression & creation programs and the facilitator of the Musical Movements class – an online singing collective. We caught up with Cynthia to learn more about her role and passions.

How did you get involved with BCBWP?
Dr. Silke Appel-Cresswell began sharing her thoughts with me during the summer of 2019 about her vision for a therapeutic wellness hub for people living with chronic brain conditions and their community. She invited me to take on the music wellness role which was a beautiful opportunity to grow my practice with elders which, up until then, had been more organic than intentional.

What did you do previously before working for BCBWP?
My previous professional pathways had been in media before a season of full time parenting. Ten years ago, an occasion arose to contribute to the musical education of students at St. James Music Academy and in my home music studio.

What do you like most about being a part of BCBWP?
BCBWP aims to enrich the lives of those in our ‘aging well’ community. The authenticity and grace I encounter in that space is ever inspiring. Feeling connected to an endeavour that is so enriching, it’s a privilege. I’m also most grateful to BCBWP for opening up other pathways for me in the realms of Music Care and Community Music. Silke has also encouraged me to pursue research and so, here I am, in my mid-fifties, in the midst of an MA graduate degree program at UBC with the faculty of music education.

What do you enjoy outside of work?
I am a CEO (chief encouragement officer) to the four young adult children I have had the privilege of parenting along with my husband, Ken. Now there is a fifth whom I adore after our eldest daughter’s recent wedding! I enjoy hikes, ocean dips, crafting a charcuterie platter and listening to podcasts when in motion.

Do you have a favourite quote?
From Mama Angelou to Antonio Abreu, inspirations come from many wise voices. Currently, the Dalai Lama’s acknowledgement that his religion is kindness is one I find myself often repeating and aspiring towards.

Cynthia Friesen in her home music studio. Photo by Yasmeen Strang