Lumara Grief & Bereavement Society (Camp Kerry)


Adopted by our generous donors

“We are so grateful that our son was given the opportunity to take part in the song-writing workshop offered by Camp Kerry. Luke, the Music Therapist, was a fabulous instructor and he kept our son engaged through the entire three-hour session. It was such a good opportunity for us to share our memories of our daughter as a family and in the end our son wrote a beautiful song about his sister. He was so proud of his accomplishment. It meant so much to us to witness this transformation and to see him so inspired.”

Parent of Music Therapy Participant

Lumara Grief & Bereavement Society

Music therapy services at Lumara are provided by a team of accredited music therapists who are experienced in hospice/palliative and bereavement care. They are proud to have the largest team of music therapists working together in BC!

Ever since Lumara was first established in 2007, music therapy has been an integral part of all the grief support services and programs. They have now facilitated over 24 iterations of the signature program “Camp Kerry” (a four-day family bereavement retreat) and music therapy has been a core part of every single retreat.

In the past year music therapy has specifically been implemented in the following Lumara programs, all of which were delivered online in the last year:

1.) Lumara Counselling Services
2.) Synergy: Lumara Community Choirs
3.) Circles of Strength: Child/Youth/Family Grief Support Groups
4.) Songwriting and other Music Therapy Workshops
5.) Kaleidoscope 2020: A Virtual Grief Convention for Families and Professionals
6.) Interlude Holiday Grief Gathering (December 2020)
7.) Indigenous Wellness Days (March 19 and June 18, 2021)

Music Heals funding was specifically used to fund individual music therapy sessions. They have provided 66 individual music therapy sessions to date this year and expect to provide 100 by December 2021. In addition:

– 73 clients were served through music therapy group sessions from January to June
– 75 people will participate in music therapy at the BC camp in September
– 200 people will participate in music therapy through the Kaleidoscope virtual grief convention in November


Lumara clients are children, youth and adults who are coping with serious illness, loss and grief. We provide services for approximately 300-400 children, youth, adults and families throughout British Columbia. Lumara is the only family-centred bereavement program in BC with a provincial reach.


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From Lumara:

“Through music therapy in both individual and group settings, our participants access emotional support and build new coping strategies that assist them to navigate their grieving process in healthy ways. Given the ongoing impact of the pandemic on mental health and the isolation it has created, this has been perhaps more impactful than ever before. Participants in our music therapy programs regularly describe an enhanced sense of overall coping and personal well-being as well as an improved sense of connection and communication within their family. They also consistently report a decreased sense of isolation in their grief and a stronger sense of community and belonging. This was often a surprise for participants this year that virtual programming could re-create this sense of community and belonging. Music-making, toe-tapping, community-connecting musical programs and encounters build friendships, relieve stress, deliver positive endorphins, and provide cathartic, meaningful outlets for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

Traditional grief counselling is typically limited to standard one-hour appointments in an office setting one-on-one with a therapist and rarely takes creative, unique, or community-based forms. At Lumara we take a different approach. We believe in harnessing the love, compassion, and creativity of an entire community to support and embrace those who are grieving. Instead of limiting our work to a few in-office counselling sessions, we engage our participants for the long-term; most of our clients work with us for two to three years.

We understand very well that profound losses can rarely be articulated through words alone. Through the music therapy programs of Lumara, our participants are given the opportunity to access non-verbal modalities to help them express the wide range of intense emotions that grieving brings. Particularly when working with children and youth, we engage them in peer group settings and use the power of nature, music, and other expressive arts to help them process and make sense of their grief.”

Navigating the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic

After making significant changes to the programming structure at the start of the pandemic, Lumara was able to seamlessly offer virtual programming year-round to serve clients during this difficult time without interruption. There have been no reductions in music therapy services at Lumara. They continue to employ the same number of music therapists as before and reach more participants.

They moved all choirs, workshops, and individual music therapy sessions to a secure online platform using Zoom. For many new participants, the virtual platform has provided opportunities to participate when they would not have been able to do so before, due to where they reside. Virtual programming has extended our reach to more people in BC.

Your support of this program will increase music therapy services by providing additional individual music therapy sessions and online workshops– which have been extremely well-received in this past year; particularly during the pandemic.

Over the last 12 months, they have provided 113 individual music therapy sessions. Their goal in 2022 is to provide 120 individual music therapy sessions. They continue to experience demand for individual music therapy sessions, particularly for bereaved children and youth and they hope to be able to meet these requests by having a music therapist available almost every week of the year to serve these kids.

“In many ways, the Camp Kerry / Lumara choir has been extremely beneficial for me on my journey through grief. It was just what I needed at the time – the connection to other people going through the grief experience; the opportunity to find my singing voice again after many years, in a non-judgmental and supportive environment; the beautiful music itself that was thoughtfully and appropriately selected for our grief circumstances; and the experienced and compassionate music therapists who guided us through the songs and our emotions and even the occasional therapeutic dance movements. I was even inspired to start writing music myself.

I attended two semesters of choir with Camp Kerry; the change in me was remarkable from the beginning of the first session to the end of the second session. Towards the end of the second session, there was a lovely sense of comfort and friendship amongst the attendees, so much so that we have stayed connected and supported one another via Zoom, even after choir has ended. We plan on meeting in person in the near future.

People who are grieving can certainly benefit from the types of programs that Camp Kerry / Lumara offers. I know I certainly have.”

– Camp Kerry Choir Participant

Alexina davis

Alexina is a Certified Music Therapist who has been enthusiastically participating in Camp Kerry programs since 2014. In 2015, she attended her first camp and became part of the music therapy team. That year, she also joined Synergy, the Camp Kerry Choir, as a volunteer in the pilot program. Since then, she has directed the choir for several terms, led the music team in the BC, Ontario and Atlantic camps and helped to facilitate many of Camp Kerry’s children’s grief support groups (Circles of Strength).


Aspen is a Certified Music Therapist who in another life was an award-winning singer/songwriter who recorded and toured nationally and internationally. She now works as a music therapist specializing in hospice and bereavement care. Aspen has been leading Camp Kerry’s Community Choirs and Beyond One Voice workshops for people living with serious illness, grief and loss for the past five years. She is also a regular contributor to the Society’s youth program music-based recording and performing initiatives.

Luke Burton

Luke is a Certified Music Therapist and a singer/songwriter with many years of experience as a performer, therapist, group facilitator and community choir co-leader. He has been a member of the Camp Kerry team since 2017 first working in Ontario, and currently in British Columbia where he facilitates groups, workshops and individual music therapy sessions for adults, children and youth.

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