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Thinking Spaces: Dreams Come True “Improvisation and Radical Accessibility”

March 13 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Dreams Come True graphic for Thinking Spaces: Improvisation and Radical Accessibility. The poster features a music studio's logo over surrounded by clourful text, polka dots, and squiggles. Wednesday, March 13 at 1 PM (ET) @ ImprovLab (108 Mackinnon)

Please join us on Wednesday, March 13 at 1:00 PM (ET) for Thinking Spaces: “Improvisation and Radical Accessibility” with Dreams Come True Music Studio. 

This presentation will take place in person at ImprovLab, MCKN 108 at the University of Guelph, as well as online via Zoom. As always, our Thinking Spaces events are free!

More about this talk:

The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) is pleased to host an extended Thinking Spaces event focusing on ‘radical accessibility’ (Rice & Besse, 2020) within arts education. In this moderated discussion/mini-performance, we are joined by special guests, Dr. Caroline Blumer (Western University) and Allison O’Connor (Dreams Come True Music
Studio, Founder). They will share ways they have merged radical accessibility and improvisational practices in creating and sustaining inclusive musical theater spaces in Brazil and London, ON Canada. This two-hour special event will feature a mini-performance by members of London, Ontario’s very own, Dreams Come True Music Studio (DCT). Come enjoy a live performance by the “dreamers”as they are affectionately called, and also insightful conversation with the DCT team, families and caregivers.

More about the speakers:

Allison O’Connor holds a Bachelor Of Music Honours Music Education and Bachelor Of Education from Western University and has been an elementary school vocal and instrumental music teacher since 1988. She has taught for the North York Board of Education and Thames Valley District School Board conducting choirs, bands, and school musicals. Allison is founder and artistic director of Dreams Come True Music Studio (DCT), a studio focusing on people of all ages and abilities. DCT holds summer, fall, and winter music programs, where “dreamers” learn, improvise, and rehearse in preparation for musicals and concerts. Allison and the DCT musicians have received numerous accolades and notable recognition from the community, including The London Free Press and CTV news for their commitment to inclusion and making a difference through music.

Dr. Caroline Blumer holds a Ph.D in Music Education from Western University as well as a Bachelor in Popular Music & Jazz degree and a Master in Music Education degree, both from the State University of Campinas, Brazil. As a soloist, she has performed in “Los Conciertos de Navidad” in Havana and Matanzas (Cuba) accompanied by Brasília Jazz Symphonic. Caroline taught voice in her private studio for 10 years. She was instructor for the “Popular Singing” and “Singing for Actors” courses at Carlos Gomes Conservatory (Campinas). She was Musical Director and Vocal Coach in
important Brazilian musical theater productions such as “Malandro’s Opera”, “The Lion King”, “Man of La Mancha”, “Notre Dame of Paris” and others. Alongside her work as a jazz singer and musician, she is a researcher and teacher interested in inclusive musical contexts where people with intellectual disabilities experience music-making. Caroline has worked with individuals with disabilities and individuals on the Autistic Spectrum within inclusive musical theatre programs and schools in Brazil. In Canada, she is engaged as a volunteer and researcher with two inclusive musical programs at L’Arche Community and Dreams Come True Music Studio in London, ON.

Get up each day and sing your song.

These words are near and dear to my heart not only because they were composed by our friend Ken Fleet, but also because Dreams Come True Music Studio aspires for everyone of all ages and all abilities to be able to get up each day and sing their song.

The Dreams Come True Music Studio creates opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to participate in high quality productions and to transform their lives through music. The studio celebrates diversity, inclusion, acceptance, and all abilities.

It was April 2018 while walking my dog Max, that I was chatting with my sister Heather on the phone about my dream to find a music program which was truly inclusive for all; one in which my son Cameron could be successful. He has been surrounded by music all his life and knowing the importance of music in life, I wanted Cameron to experience success with music. We found our love of sport through Special Olympics but we were missing the music piece. Because of his intellectual disability and FASD, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, he learns differently. But he learns. The goal was for Cameron to experience music and feel confident. Those of you who have been involved in music programs must relish the memories of your rehearsals, your concerts, your shows and your friendships made through music. I want that for everyone.

During that walk with Max, my sister said, “Stop looking for the program. Create it. You are a music teacher specialist and have been advocating for inclusion since you and Cameron became family.”

So began the adventure. We offer Summer, Fall and Winter programs all culminating in amazing Showcase Concerts. Rehearsals are spent together singing, moving, experiencing music and making friendships. We don’t try harder, we try differently. We are a family. We are not a special needs music group. We are not a kids choir. We are a fantastic, dedicated and energetic Musical Theatre group! I am so proud of every one of my musicians. It is a privilege to work with our families, musicians, caregivers, local agencies and spectacular volunteers who make our dreams come true. They teach me so much and I am grateful.

Our musicians: Wow! They are capable and we believe in them. We thank them for pushing themselves personally and musically. They make a difference.

Please visit our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn about our DCT Family and our upcoming programs.

I want to thank my son, Cameron for believing in the power of Music. He provided the experiences for me to help to make this happen. Being removed from programs, being told to look elsewhere, motivated me to show others what he CAN do. The journey can be lonely but now with our Dreams Come True Family, we are not alone. We believe.

We thank you for believing. This experience will be forever in our hearts.
#inclusion #abilitiesfirst #singyoursong

To attend the talk in-person or online, RSVP via our Google Forms.


March 13
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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MacKinnon Room 108, 87 Trent Lane, University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario N1G 1Y4 Canada
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