Composing a hymn of hope for my community


A chorus of voices carry over the pews and out the church doors. The solemn sound of a piano adds to the air of reverence. Whelan Jansen’s purpose here is simple: show children they have talent, hone their potential, and spread joy. For over a decade, Jansen has been reaching kids in Elsies River through his skills as a pianist and musical director. Outside of these sessions, numerous negative influences affect the children’s lives. “But we always do things in a positive way in here,” Jansen says.

Working with Sunday schools, Jansen ensures that children are given the chance to play an instrument or assist in plays. “There isn’t a lot of musical development in our community,” Jansen says. His efforts are crucial for creative growth, allowing the children to widen their range of opportunities as they get older. “I will always teach them music,” Jansen says. He believes in these kids. “Tomorrow, or the day after, they might be a big artist,” he adds.

For now, his initiative is an exchange of positivity. “I play music to inspire people and also to inspire myself when I feel down,” Jansen says. As they sing, happiness radiates from the children. The collective sound of their voices is a hymn to the community, calling others in. “The most powerful thing about music is that it brings people together,” Jansen says. No matter what happens as these kids grow, the knowledge that someone believes in them will endure. And the music. They’ll always have the music.