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Online Nova Scotia kitchen party and the healing power of music during the pandemic

Click to play video: 'Online kitchen party celebrates first anniversary by supporting mental health programs' Online kitchen party celebrates first anniversary by supporting mental health programs
WATCH: The Facebook Ultimate Online Nova Scotia Kitchen Party, which has brought comfort to so many people since the pandemic started, is celebrating its one-year anniversary later this month by holding a concert in support of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia. Global’s Shelley Steeve reports – Mar 11, 2021

The Facebook Ultimate Online Nova Scotia Kitchen Party, which has brought comfort to so many people since the pandemic started, is celebrating its one-year anniversary later this month.

Read more: Nova Scotia kitchen party Facebook group goes global during COVID-19

The site’s creator, Heather Thomson, said the group will be holding a live online concert on March 20 at 7 p.m. in support of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.

“We see the connection between music and mental health every single day in this group,” said Thomson.

She said donations can be made to the charity event online and that the proceeds will support services provided by the foundation.

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“The event is live on stage from the deCoste centre in Pictou, Nova Scotia,” said Thomson.

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Some of the performers who have posted to the Facebook group, which includes hundreds of thousands of members and features videos of at-home music performances, over the last year will perform on stage at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre while adhering to COVID-19 protocols, she said.

The concert will be streamed live on the group’s Facebook page and YouTube channel along with pre-recorded performances from other artists.

Thomson said the event is a celebration of the group but is also a tribute to the healing power of music. She said the Facebook group has become a place for people to come together to support one another through hard times.

Read more: Looking back at the online Nova Scotia kitchen party

“They can share their stories without judgment and they look for support and it is right there.”

Under lockdown in the backcountry of Renfrew, Ont., before joining the group, James Watt said he felt isolated at home with no outlet and battled to control feelings of anxiety and depression linked to a history of drug addiction.

“I really didn’t even want to get out of bed some days and so this group was … a bit of an outlet for those things, a way to vent and play some music and find some encouragement,” he said.

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Even after the vaccine rollout is complete, Thomson said the group will continue to support the community.

“It is not going anywhere. It is part of our everyday life now. I personally can’t imagine a day without it,” she said.

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