April 2, 2014:The Salish Sea Players performed today for the new Memory Care unit at Quail Park in Lynnwood. This is a beautiful facility and had a warm and inviting atmosphere and acoustic. We had worked with Christine, the Activities Director, almost 2 years ago when she was working at a different Memory Care Unit. She was new to Baroque music then, but immediately loved it and commented on the therapeutic effect she saw in the residents. We lost touch after she left that job (baby!!) but were thrilled when she tracked us down after starting her new position at Quail Park. I was happy to reconnect with her—her enthusiasm is infectious and it is clear how much she cares for her residents.
Today’s performance was a perfect example of why I keep doing this but in a way, it’s hard to put into words–it’s more of a feeling. The crowd was small but enthusiastic, delighted at the sound of the Baroque violins and harpsichord, cheering us on at the end of every movement, listening intently as we spoke about the music and instruments. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a big deal—but, this was a Memory Care unit and that doesn’t always happen.
Christine told us after the show that, once again, she saw the therapeutic effect of our performance on her charges. The residents were interacting with each other and with us when normally they would not interact very much at all. One woman, who spoke in a language only she understood, stayed for the entire show when normally she would have wandered off. Even before the show she was interacting with me and Olga and after the show she wanted to touch our hands–I think she was saying thank you. (I loved her eyes). Another woman, Cora, who was 88, told me how touched she was by the concert. I helped her to the harpsichord and with great delight she played a scale. Later, with tears in her eyes, Cora spoke with Olga and told her too how touched she was by our music. (She liked Olga’s hands because they were warm!)
Before the show we talked to a handsome fellow, Sandy Sanderson, who was sporting a large shiny belt buckle. Turns out he had had a country-western band when he was younger man (Sandy Sanderson and the Rhythm Riders). He demonstrated his yodeling skills to the delight of all present. I invited him to yodel during the concert but he declined.
I look forward to a return engagement coming up in May.
BTW, I didn’t realize until today that the Salish Sea Players have been performing for 2 years–March 8, 2012 was our first show!! Wow! In those two years we have performed 53 performances with a lot more coming. Thanks to all of you that have helped us continue to bring Baroque chamber music to some pretty special people—to those living in long-term care facilities in the greater Seattle area.