Tapestry Employee Makes Beautiful Music: Meet Catherine Thornsley
When residents and employees at Tapestry’s Arbutus Walk location received their first COVID-19 immunization, the community was electric. The vibrancy was in part generated by the excitement of receiving this important layer of protection against the virus. But the joy of that memorable moment was truly inspired by the angelic voice of Catherine Thornsley who brought many to tears with her spirited rendition of “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
It’s not the first time that Catherine, a Wellness Associate at Tapestry at Arbutus Walk, has inspired residents and employees. She often shares her incredible singing talent with the community and in raising her powerful voice, fosters connections and creates opportunities for communication.
“Music in all its forms and genres speaks volumes across generations,” says Catherine. “It transcends language and is probably the most powerful vessel for communication.”
Although raised in a self-described “sporty” family, Catherine has always had a passion for music. Growing up in the college town of Flagstaff, Arizona, she spent her formative years in choir and mentored by coaches who noted her special vocal talent. After completing an undergraduate degree in vocal performance at Northern Arizona University, Catherine pursued a post-graduate degree at the University of BC, recently graduating with her Master of Music in Opera Performance.
While she started her career singing a variety of classical tunes, Catherine has recently concentrated on opera, fully embracing this genre which combines stirring melodies with universal soul-touching stories. Catherine has performed in many languages, including Polish, Czech, Russian, German, French and Italian.
For Catherine, singing opera is about more than just the music. “Opera touches the very depth of your soul,” she says, highlighting her current favourite Aria, “Vissi d’Arte,” as an example of this genre’s powerful ability to touch and thrill listeners.
While studying at the University of BC, Catherine has shared her considerable talents at Tapestry where she is a valued member of the Wellness team. This exceptional group of employees takes the lead in organizing events and activities to support the community’s focus on building a vibrant, socially connected environment with programming aligned to the 7 Dimensions of Wellness. Catherine says her work has given her a unique opportunity to balance her passion for singing and working with seniors.
“It is my second calling to work with seniors,” says Catherine, describing her experience at Tapestry. “I love being around this generation of people. They inspire me with their wisdom and experiences.”
Residents and employees at Tapestry at Arbutus Walk recently raised their own voices to cheer for Catherine as she participated in the Metropolitan Opera Laffont competition where she took centre stage at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. After placing first in a regional pre-qualifying competition, Catherine made it to the top 20 in this very competitive event designed to support promising young opera singers.
While she didn’t finish in the top 10 – something she was hoping for – Catherine is undaunted. She continues to perform in local productions, train with her voice coach and share her talents with our community until the next opportunity to compete in this world-class competition.
Asked where she sees herself in future, Catherine is content to savour this moment. “I love working at Tapestry and having the opportunity to perform. Music is truly magical, brings people into your realm and allows you to share personal experiences on another level.”
Like Catherine, we invite you to explore a career opportunity with Tapestry that may give you the opportunity to balance your passions. Visit our Careers page or send us an email; we would love to hear from you.