Cheshire resident Terri Lachance is using her musical gifts to help local communities and businesses hurting from the pandemic.
Lachance, a second grade teacher at Norton Elementary School, has worked for the district in various capacities since 1987.
Over the past year, singing and playing guitar, she’s been helping with fundraisers for local businesses and organizations. Performances have been online via Zoom and in person, at outdoor venues.
Lachance plays a mix of music, including original songs.
In Deep River, Whistle Stop Cafe owner Hedy Watrous said, “Terri has been amazing.” Not only for the funds she raised, but also for “raising awareness that there are many ways to aid the struggling service industry.”
The Whistle Stop was the first beneficiary of a Lachance-run fundraiser, but not the last. Events to benefit the Cheshire Food Pantry, The Higher Grounds Cafe in East Haddam, and Nightingales Acoustic Cafe in Old Lyme soon followed.
Norton principal Kelly Grillo described Lachance as a teacher who “provides music as a way to bring us together as a community.” She added, “it makes me happy to know that Terri has found ways to continue to fill her life with music, because it is part of who she is.”
Lachance said she has always been “very excited to sing and join in on all music related activities … music is inside me and drives me. It is how I express my emotions. It is how I interpret the world around me.”
Her musical talents were nurtured early on by teachers, specifically a kindergarten teacher who wrote “a comment about me being able to keep a beat.”
Lachance said “Music to some students gives them a way to express their emotions and also to learn about things. I use songs to emphasize topics like social justice, fun, movement and to teach about subject matter like clouds, or geography.”
“ It brings so much joy to children, and it touches something in them,” she continued.
After college, Lachance signed up for a stint in the Peace Corps, an experience she brings to her work as an educator.
“I also had cross cultural training through the Peace Corps which has helped me in all my teaching experiences... It has helped me to think about the families from different countries and how to think about their lives and how they approach education and what American schools ask from them and whether it fits with their cultural beliefs,” she said.