Making Meaning Through Music

Making Meaning Through Music

By Penny Vittoria, Successful Aging Coach, Acacia Creek 

Sharing music brings joy and purpose to the members of the Acacia Creek chorus, who held their first outreach concert in June 2016. The chorus, which calls itself the “AC Singers,” consists of 18–20 Acacia Creek residents. Recipients of their music were the residents of St. Christopher Convalescent Hospital, in Hayward, California.

Each week, the AC Singers meet for an hour to practice with their resident accompanist. The group’s conductor, Joan Wade, says, “It’s meaningful to share the music we are learning and to have purpose to our practicing.” The group routinely performs at Acacia Creek and for skilled nursing residents at the Masonic Homes, which shares an adjacent campus. The singers have been happy to have the opportunity to share their love of music with the greater community.

Music is an important part of life, health, and overall well-being. According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, music helps with memory by using association to remember special events, feelings, or thoughts. It can also influence or become an outlet for emotions—soothing people’s agitation, brightening their mood, or allowing them to grieve. It is also a tool for people to connect emotionally and communicate when words are not possible.

During their visit to St. Christopher, the AC Singers made an emotional connection with their audience, with residents singing along to the familiar tunes. The feeling in the room was an overall sense of happiness. Chorus members look forward to more performances where they can give back to the greater community.

This article was excerpted from the article “Changing the Way We Age,” published by the Journal on Active Aging, May/June 2017, Volume 16, No. 3. The Journal on Active Aging is the official publication of the International Council on Active Aging.