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Manny Atance

Manny Atance

Clinical Resource Coordinator

At the start of the pandemic, I was redeployed to the Houses of Providence to support the residents on 3-West.

I play the piano only because a club member – that’s what we call our Adult Day Program clients – inspired me and encouraged me.

That was back in the 90s. We had an old upright piano in what was then called the Alzheimer’s Day Program. We had a club member who was legally blind. She was an organist at her church and a piano teacher.

Providence has been so instrumental in shaping my life and who I’ve become.

She would play the piano and I would just sit with her. One day I played Chopsticks. And she said, ‘You know what, I sense something in you. You should take lessons.’ And I said, ‘Maybe.’

We had education grants then and I thought – Well, why not take a stab at it? I was able to take a couple of years of piano. I am no concert pianist but I have a repertoire of between 50 and 75 songs.

I haven’t kept up with it as much as I’ve wanted to and that’s been a regret of mine. My only piano is at Providence.

Providence is a happy place. I met my wife here, we got married here in the chapel, both of our kids have been baptized here, my mother is a resident in the Houses of Providence. Providence has been so instrumental in shaping my life and who I’ve become.

That’s been the great joy of what I’ve done here in the last 20 years: how much the people here, my residents and my club members have shared with me and taught me.

When I’m done chatting with you I’m going to go back and play the piano for my residents. I play quite regularly for them. I taught myself a couple of songs: God Save the Queen and then O Canada.

Those are my favourites – I taught them to myself because I knew how proud they all are to be Canadian and how the two songs instill feelings of togetherness and strength. Everybody in their generation knows those words. It always elicits applause at the very end.

Manny Atance is a Clinical Resource Coordinator in the Adult Day Program at Providence Healthcare.

As told to Ana Gajic. Photos by Katie Cooper. This interview has been edited and condensed. ​