The Gift of Song - Free online concert

The gift of song

The McGill Dementia Education Program held a free online concert performed by a talented trio of jazz musicians on September 2, 2020, hosted by Claire Webster and Derek Cassoff, along with Drs. José Morais and Serge Gauthier.  Please view the recording and enjoy an hour of beautiful music to lift your spirits.

The gift of song is an initiative of the McGill Dementia Education Program, which is funded by private donations. To make a contribution or for more information about our program, please visit

Meet our talented musicians

Liliane Murdoch
Liliane Murdoch is a singer-songwriter and performer from Montreal. She performed at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2015 as well as the Vail Jazz Festival in Colorado in 2018. Having studied jazz voice at Quebec’s renowned music program at Cégep de Saint-Laurent, she is now pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Cultural Studies at McGill University. Having witnessed three of her grandparents experience Alzheimer’s at the end of their lives, she has personally, alongside her family, been very affected by the disease and is excited to be giving back through jazz music. At a time when her grandfather could not remember how to speak, he started dancing and singing the words to her version of “Let It Snow”, proving the amazing benefits of music on the disease. Her upcoming EP is to be published in September 2020.

Zach Fischer
Guitarist and composer Zach Fischer is an upcoming musician on the Montreal and Philadelphia jazz scenes. Drawn to the guitar at an early age, Fischer has studied guitar with Ben Monder, Reinier Baas, Jesse van Ruller, Greg Clayton and Dave Manley, as well as improvisation in general with Gary Thomas, Pablo Held, Dick Oatts, Gregory Hutchinson, Sumi Tonooka, Anthony Tidd and Christine Jensen. Fischer has performed with some of America and Canada’s finest jazz musicians, including Ambrose Akinmusire, John Hollenbeck, Kevin Dean, Dave Laing, Erik Hove, Mike Rud, Jaleel Shaw and John Stowell among others. Zach is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance at McGill University, where he has received the Seymour Schulich Scholarship for Excellence in Music as well as the David Moyse Scholarship for Excellence in Guitar.

Theo Abellard
Theo Abellard was born and raised in Montreal. He started his musical education at L’Ecole Le Plateau on classical violin at age 10 and started playing the piano in high school at age 15. Now 23 years old, Abellard is the leader of the new generation of young Canadian jazz players. Growing up in church, he developed a spiritually transcendent approach to music making. Having played the piano for only seven years he is already demonstrating virtuosity and a seemingly infinite potential for growth. Aside from his great ability on the instrument, he is also a prolific composer with a mature artistic voice. Theo Abellard has played at the Montreal Jazz Festival with several International artists. He now studies Jazz Performance at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University.


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