Norfolk County’s singing nurse hopes residents will come together to #ShareASongInSpanish.
Tina Zelem, who has been taking singing lessons for a few months, decided to add music to her time with her patients. She recently added Spanish songs to her repertoire as a way to welcome migrant workers in the area.
“I’ve sang ever since I was young, but I was always very shy about it,” said Zelem.
She said she hadn’t sung in front of anyone outside of her family and vocal coach until recently because it makes her nervous.
“It makes me happy to do it and it makes other people happy, so it’s getting easier to do,” said Zelem. “I just really enjoy it.”
Growing up, she lived on a farm and passed the time by whistling while working in the fields.
She worked at a local nursing home while going through school to become a nurse, and she often found herself humming or whistling while working with the residents.
The whistling has now turned to singing.
“I love my job,” she said. “I don’t want to be a singer, but I do it because I love the way it makes people feel.”
Zelem said she hopes others will put in the effort to learn a Spanish song and post it to social media using the hashtag #ShareASongInSpanish to show their appreciation for the migrant workers.
“It shows a sense of togetherness for our community,” she said. “Even if we don’t speak the same language, we can still help the migrant workers feel safe, not alone and welcomed.”
Recently, 169 offshore workers in Norfolk County tested positive for COVID-19. One died.
“Singing is a universal way to communicate, connect, and show compassion,” Zelem wrote in an open letter.
“It is a simple enjoyment that comes naturally to children, and slowly starts to fade away as our wrinkles grow. It can heal and encourage connectedness.
“In a time of much uncertainty, adversity, and negativity, I call on our community to share their voice of positivity. Empathize with the pain of others, support their passions, and listen to their stories; there is always something to be heard.”