The concert at Upstairs seen in the documentary

Claire beams during her 2011 show at Upstairs Jazz Bar and Grill in Montreal. In the Key of Claire. © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Claire beams during her 2011 show at Upstairs Jazz Bar and Grill in Montreal. In the Key of Claire. © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Barbara Lewis shared the stage with Claire during a 2011 show at Upstairs Jazz Bar and Grill in Montreal. In the Key of Claire. © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Barbara Lewis shared the stage with Claire during a 2011 show at Upstairs Jazz Bar and Grill in Montreal. In the Key of Claire. © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Contact the producers for higher resolution versions of these images.

South African jazz legend Thandi Klassen

South African jazz legend Thandi Klassen appears in the documentary. Here she chats with Anne Henderson between takes in 2011.  In the key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Productions.

South African jazz legend Thandi Klassen appears in the documentary. Here she chats with Anne Henderson between takes in 2011. In the key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Productions.

South African jazz legend Thandi Klassen appears in the documentary. Here she chats with pianist Chad Linsley between takes in 2011.  In the key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Productions.

South African jazz legend Thandi Klassen appears in the documentary. Here she chats with pianist Chad Linsley between takes in 2011. In the key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Contact the producers for higher resolution versions of these images.

The Big Night

Anne Henderson beams as In the Key of Claire is finally presented to an audience after four years of work. In the Key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Anne Henderson beams as In the Key of Claire opens in Montreal. © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Balcony view of the premiere. In the Key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Films.

Balcony view of the premiere. In the Key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Films.

Cinematographer Richard Burman entertains the audience at the premiere of In the Key of Claire. In the Key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Cinematographer Richard Burman entertains the audience at the premiere of In the Key of Claire. © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Onstage for the premiere of In the Key of Claire. In the Key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Onstage for the premiere of In the Key of Claire. In the Key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy of the MUHC presents flowers to Claire at the premiere of In the Key of Claire. In the Key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Productions

Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy of the MUHC presents flowers to Claire at the premiere of In the Key of Claire. In the Key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Productions

Cinematographer Richard Burman, joins Claire, Erin, Barbaran and Anne at the premiere of In the Key of Claire. In the Key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Richard, Claire, Erin, Barbara and Anne at the premiere of In the Key of Claire. In the Key of Claire © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Synopsis of the Film

Claire Duchesneau is a social worker at the HIV clinic of the McGill University Chest Hospital.  She is also a talented amateur singer who discovers first-hand the extraordinary benefits of singing when facing adversity and loss. Claire uses music to transcend both her own personal hardships and those of her clients, asylum seekers from war-torn areas of Africa.

Interweaving intimate sequences with her vocal coach, well-known singer Barbara Lewis, with scenes in the oncology ward of the Montreal General Hospital, in the recording studio, at the Upstairs Jazz Bar, in the HIV clinic, and at a family cottage on Lake MacDonald, the film celebrates the human voice as an expression of the life force within. For Claire’s HIV patients, survivors of genocide and rape, singing is a way for them to reclaim their silenced voices and rediscover joy.

In the vast repertoire of musical expression, the human voice is the one instument we all share. We were born to sing.

In the Key of Claire Poster

Backstory

Singer and vocal coach Barbara Lewis. © Barbara Lewis

Singer and vocal coach Barbara Lewis. © Barbara Lewis

Barbara Lewis  is a well-known performer and vocal coach who works with mature as well as young singers. About five years ago, Barbara embarked on a coaching program with Claire  Duchesneau, an amateur singer who is significantly hearing-impaired. Their musical journey became the catalyst for filmmaker Anne Henderson’s documentary In the Key of Claire. For four years, Barbara has nourished, as well as performed with her special student, and a deep bond has evolved. The film shows Barbara in concert, revealing her wonderful vocal range and interpretations.

 

MCI social worker stars in a documentary about music and healing

low rez POSTER DIVER copy

This article appeared in the McGill University Health Centre’s internal web site. The article is reprinted here with thanks.

In the Key of Claire, a film by Anne Henderson – To premiere July 29 at the Rialto Theatre
We first introduced this inspiring and inspired woman to you in February. Claire Duchesneau has been a McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) social worker at the Montreal Chest Institute, for 27 years specializing in HIV/AIDS. Born into a musical family, she started singing at a very young age and never stopped, despite later suffering from significant hearing loss. It is this combination, and her tireless and compassionate work with HIV-positive refugees that has made her the main subject of a documentary on music and healing.

It only takes listening to Duchesneau for a few minutes to figure how dedicated she is to her patients, many of whom come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Rwanda, where they have experienced atrocities and lost relatives. Over time, her patients have become a source of inspiration to her. “Many of these patients are very vulnerable,” she says, “but they are also models of resilience for me.”

Four years ago, Duchesneau was diagnosed with cancer. She feared that chemotherapy would affect her hearing more, so she recorded an album. “Music has helped me through my cancer,” says Duchesneau. “It is a thread in my life that helps me deal with the sad stories I hear day in and day out.” Wishing to offer music as a gift to her patients, she helped a group of African women followed at her clinic to record an album of their own.

After 17 years supporting these patients, listening to their stories and learning about the wars that have marked their lives, Duchesneau feels she and her colleagues are now part of their history. “We lived it through their eyes and hearts,” she says. Nevertheless, there are still many things that are beyond her understanding. “Their stories are so far from our reality that sometimes it is impossible to imagine what they are going through or have gone through.”

On July 29, the Rialto Theatre will present Duchesneau’s film premiere “In the Key of Claire: A Story of Music and Healing.” The film will be followed by a Q & A with the director, Anne Henderson, and film subjects.

This documentary premiere is open to everyone who is interested.

The documentary will be presented in English only.

Where? Rialto Theatre. 5723 Avenue du Parc, Montreal, H2S 4G9
When? Tuesday, July 29, 2014, at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
How? You can purchase your tickets ($10 each) online.

Location: Rialto Theatre, 5723 du Parc, Montreal
Date: Jul 29, 2014 – 7:00 pm
MUHC News

Rialto premiere July 29th

In The Key of Claire Poster

In the Key of Claire is a documentary about music and healing. It will be launched at the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday July 29, at 7 pm.

The film tells the story of Claire Duchesneau, a social worker at the HIV clinic of the McGill University Health Centre in Montréal. Claire is a talented amateur musician who uses music to transcend both her own challenges, and those of her patients, HIV positive refugees from Rwanda and elsewhere.

The film will be followed by a Q & A with director Anne Henderson and the film subjects. A shorter version will be broadcast on CBC television later this summer.

You can purchase $10 tickets online here.

Street parking available.
Du Parc Métro-80 Bus South or Park Avenue Métro and the 80 Bus North
5723 Avenue du Parc Montreal, QC H2V 4G9

 

Claire and Erin

Claire and Erin. In the Key of Claire, Directed by Anne Henderson, © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Claire and Erin departing for Rwanda. In the Key of Claire, Directed by Anne Henderson, © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Claire and Erin, off to Africa. In the Key of Claire, Directed by Anne Henderson, © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Claire and Erin departing for Rwanda.  In the Key of Claire, Directed by Anne Henderson, © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Filming a Fundraiser at the Montreal General Hospital

In the Key of Claire, Directed by Anne Henderson, © 2014 Arcady Productions.

In the Key of Claire, Directed by Anne Henderson, © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Barbara Lewis warms up for a fundraiser St Valentine's Day fundraiser at the Montreal General. In the Key of Claire, Directed by Anne Henderson, © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Barbara Lewis warms up for a fundraiser St Valentine’s Day fundraiser at the Montreal General. In the Key of Claire, Directed by Anne Henderson, © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Claire provides instructions to musicians at a fundraising show at the Montreal General Hospital. In the Key of Claire, Directed by Anne Henderson, © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Claire provides instructions to musicians at a fundraising show at the Montreal General Hospital. In the Key of Claire, Directed by Anne Henderson, © 2014 Arcady Productions.

In the Key of Claire, Directed by Anne Henderson, © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Claire and Barbara Lewis entertain a crowd at the Montreal General on St Valentine’s Day. In the Key of Claire, Directed by Anne Henderson, © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Claire provides instructions to musicians at a fundraiser at the Montreal General Hospital. Her daughter, Erin, looks on. In the Key of Claire, Directed by Anne Henderson, © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Claire provides instructions to a pianist while her daughter Erin looks on. Montreal General Hospital Fundraiser, February 14, 2014. In the Key of Claire,  © 2014 Arcady Productions.

Contact the producers for higher resolution versions of these images.