Albany musician shares talents with Juniper Korumup residents - Juniper
Our Stories

Albany musician shares talents with Juniper Korumup residents

During National Volunteer Week, May 15-21, we want to shine a light on the incredible volunteers who generously contribute their time to our clients across our Juniper community.

This year’s theme is ‘Change Makers’ which aims to highlight the incredible difference that people can make in all aspects of volunteering.

Juniper has 183 volunteers who dedicate their time to provide their expertise, knowledge and skills to support our staff, or bring joy to our clients.

Meet Juniper Korumup volunteer, Marie Watts.

When Albany local Marie Watts retired seven years ago, she couldn’t sit idle and watch life go by. Having spent two decades working in aged care, the 72-year-old wanted to find a fulfilling way to enjoy retired life.

“I have always loved aged care. I was trained as an Occupational Therapist but then I moved into management of services and spent 20 years working in aged care and I loved it,” she said.

“I believe it’s important to give back to your community, and when you retire you have more time to give to others.”

After a chance meeting with Juniper Korumup Residential Aged Care Home’s Residential Manager Merinda Rigoll at a local cafe, the pair got talking which led Marie to consider volunteering in an aged care home.

“When my mum needed residential care and it really dawned on me how important it was to provide a fulfilling experience for residents,” she said.

“I saw how my mum flourished being in residential care, it gave her a sense of community and support. I think we need to remember that the people who live in those homes are part of our community as well, so for me, this is my way of giving back.”

A keen musician, Marie has played the Mandolin for much of her life but transitioned to playing the Ukelele about six years ago.

“I can’t play the Mandolin as well as I used to be able to, so it became a source of frustration rather than joy,” she explained.  “So I joined a local Ukelele group and started playing. Once you’ve done one string instrument, you get the drift of it fairly easily.”

Marie then teamed up with local guitarist Brendon to play as a duet: “We call ourselves Duetto. We have performed for local charitable functions and fundraisers.”

After bumping into Merinda, Marie came up with the idea for Duetto to perform for Juniper Korumup residents.

“I wanted to do something within aged care and I thought music was a great way to do it,” she said.

Their first performance was well received, so much so that they have been back to play at the home every fortnight for the past three months.

“We play classical music together between 4 and 5pm on a Wednesday,” Marie said. “We want it to be a calming session for residents before they go enjoy their dinner.

“We perform in the Dementia Wing, and we now have about 20 residents who come to hear us play.”

While Duetto’s music brings much joy to Juniper Korumup residents, who look forward to their performance, it is just as rewarding for Marie: “I really enjoy it, and I get so much out of it.”