Monday, August 16, 2010


MUSIC - Well, what would expect from in a music blog???

The reason I am generalizing is that I have played for three senior groups in the past week and I am convinced MUSIC is MUSIC to them. Thursday I was a the Truslow Adult Day Care in Saco for the Tuesday/Thursday group. I took a pile fake books with me with no particular program in mind. I began with something lively, probably Ain't We Got Fun. Michel, a multiply handicapped, mentally challenged man got up as usual to dance. Michel dances to everything from God Bless America to The Hawaiian Wedding Song. (And all genres in between!) He is a showman at heart. I played a wide variety of music they could sing along with, or just listen to. Some good old hand-clapping, foot-stomping gospel, a polka or two and as usual, ended with a march. Everyone had smiles on their faces and some asked when I would be back. It doesn't really matter whether I tell them next week or next month, they say "Oh, good."

Friday I returned to Truslow for the Monday/Wednesday/Friday clients. I began with Anazing Grace, went to some sing-alongs and mixed in a little country, a few big band numbers, a polka, and eventually ended with a march. Michel is a full-week client, so again he danced to every number. I could hear some voices behind me catching a few lyrics here and there, and when I left some came to the organ and said they enjoyed the music, and some marvelled a the organ and said it is beautiful. The organ is a Lowrey Century, which when I owned one I believed it to be the beall endall of organs, but is now outdated and less than joyous to play. But the joy is in the response to the music, however limited my ability or the organ's.

Sunday, after a lovely family reunion, I played at the Maine Veterans' HOme in Scarborough.
I go in and set up and begin to play, and as the sounds of the music reach the rooms and he staff makes the rounds to remind clients I am there, the room begins to fill. Usually eight or ten people come in regularly, but others come and go. They are restless. It is referred to as the "residential wing." I think of it as assisted living. I started out with a quiet Swing - I think it was I Left My Heart In SanFrancisco, but moved on into sing-alongs like Mary's A Grand Old Name, Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree - you get the idea. Several of the people there do sing along, especially if I play the song twice. I played Anchors Aweigh for Celia who is a Navy Veteran, and kept the music going until supper time.

Now this sounds like a lot of "I trouble" as I scan through it. I (there I go again) didn't mean it to be about me. This is about the music - any music - all music - which when playing for a group has to appeal to everyone in some way. Toe-tapping, hand-clapping, memory jogging, mirthful, religious, moving emotionally or physically - music is good. I asked John, "Do you like country?" and he replied in his deep solemn voice, "Not especially." But I played Make the World Go Away and he sang most of it. When I left as something mouthwatering was being brought in from the kitchen, every person there said "Thank you. Come back soon."

But if someone else goes in my place one of these days, they will be greeted with the same welcome, and when leaving they will be thanked and urged, "Come back soon."

Music - there is something out there for everyone. Explore, enjoy, and

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.


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