CAF Story | Soothing sounds – Corona corporal delivers Montreal musical miracles

Video / August 7, 2020


♪ I I'm street light shining ♪
♪ I'm a wild light blinding bright ♪
♪ Burning off alone ♪

It's really, really nice to see people sitting on their balconies or watching from their windows, some waving. Like, there were definitely some touching moments. I wave at them back. It was really special.

So, my name is Raquel Bitton and I'm a corporal, an infantry soldier for the Canadian Grenadier Guards for the last four years now.

I've done a couple of domestic operations. So, the first one was Op LENTUS in 2017, which was helping with the floods. And now, there's this one, Op LASER, assisting in CHSLDs.

Our shifts were 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and we were actually on a rotation of a variety of different types of tasks. So, that included being tasked to assist the medics with their basic care. That includes feeding them, bring them their meals, maybe spoon-feeding them if they need it or assisting with their hygiene, brushing their teeth, washing their hands and bringing them to the bathroom or even talking to them.

Any sort of task. Or sometime, we were put in the cleaning crew, where we would be disinfecting surfaces, the elevators, the hallways, moping the floors or even doing laundry.

There were definitely all levels of understanding what's going on from people who knew, we're the military arriving, we're here to help, people who knew that and we could talk to them about what we're doing. And then, all the way to people who barely even know that there's a pandemic, not understanding why they can't leave their rooms.

So, my platoon commander, Lt Vigneault, as he knew I'm a musician, he approached me and said: "Would you be interested in singing, perhaps instead of just singing along as a group, to bring the harp into the picture and do something special for them to see.

♪ It's times like these we give and give again ♪
♪ It's times like these we learn to love again ♪

I mean, we tried to get volunteers as much as possible to help get them to their balconies or through the windows, but at the end of the day, I'm sure there were some who, I couldn't see, were listening. So, I don't know everybody’s full experience. I can just hope that they enjoyed it, something for them to listen to. I definitely saw some of them sitting outside and waving and definitely happy to have something to do.

It was great. I mean, it's what I love to do and I also love playing music and I loved being there, helping them through this time of social distancing where a lot of them are very, very bored in their rooms. So, I definitely felt good about giving them something to watch and I tried to make it interesting.

♪ It's times like these time and time again ♪

Well, it's definitely, dramatically, I think, forever changed the way I view aging. And for myself, that will one day be me. And, you know, it just puts in perspective what is important in life.

♪ I I am a little divided ♪
♪ Do I stay or run away and leave it all behind ♪

Ya, I wanted something fulfilling, something different. I've been actually a waitress for about 10 years and I was just tired of it. I wanted something more meaningful. So, attended an info session and it sounded like exactly what I was looking for, something to challenge myself to become more, to do more. And it's definitely been what I was looking for.

♪ It's times like these we learn to love again ♪
♪ It's times like these time and time again ♪

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