What do the residents of Sunbury Village, musicians from the Bangor Symphony,
and youth from pre-school to middle school have in common? Music!
On a cold and windy Saturday, February 14th, a special Valentine's Day treat
was shared by all three groups when the River City Salon Orchestra-members
of the Bangor Symphony, performed at Sunbury Village for an assembled group
of residents, staff and invited guests including students from the Wassokeag School .
The afternoon started out with a reception featuring punch and decorated
cookies, giving the musicians an opportunity to introduce themselves to the residents and chat about what was to come. A surprise came when a special
anniversary tribute was offered by a resident to his wife which left
everyone with a tear in their eye. But now it was time to move into the
circular atrium and get the show started. It was evident that something
special was about to happen.
Seated on sofas and chairs on all three floors of the atrium, the audience
was quiet. The River City Salon Orchestra comprised of Bill
Whitener-trumpet, Ellie May Shufro - violin, Patricia Eames - woodwinds, John
Haskell-keyboard and Cindy Bastide - drums, specializes in the popular music
of the early 20th century. Their repertoire runs from classical "hits" of
the day to Tin Pan Alley and early jazz classics. And then the music began.
The audience was quiet no more. The first one up was a toddler in a red
dress, daughter of the resident chef, who danced the afternoon away, much to
everyone's amusement. As the program progressed from Alexander's Ragtime
Band to Carolina in the Morning more people could be seen up and dancing,
clapping their hands in time or just simply tapping their toes and smiling.
A sing along proved a great hit with word sheets passed out to help those of
us who knew the chorus but not the verse or those too young in the audience
to be familiar with the tunes. Maple Leaf Rag, Toot! Toot! Tootsie Goodbye!,
music of Gershwin, Cohen, the hits just kept a comin'.
When it was all over many residents stopped to chat with the musicians
again, this time good friends brought together by music. "I hope you come
back again soon," "I remember playing that on my cornet when I was in
school," "This was the best program we have ever had," were just a few of the
comments offered. The musicians packed up and went out into the cold. The
residents dispersed to their apartments and other activities, and the
students went home to their families, each group touched by the afternoon in
their own way. Music is indeed the universal language.
The Winds of the Holiday Season
Orono , Maine - There was singing, laughing, dancing and reindeer hats.where were we? No place other than Orono Commons, a multi-function elder facility in Orono , Maine on December 9 th , 2003 . This was event number 2 for the MUSE program and it was another smashing success! The residents were singing, the staff was dancing, and even a couple lucky participants conducted the holiday melodies of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra's (BSO) Woodwind trio. The trio was composed of: Patricia Eames on Flute, Jim Higgins on Clarinet, and Lynn Flagg on Bassoon. The musicians were wonderfully animated and effortlessly weaved educational information about their instruments and their personal connection to their instruments into their performance. Holiday compositions such as Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, The Holly and the Ivy, and Silent Night resonated through the tinsel dressed building following the annual Orono Commons' friends and family holiday dinner. Their bellies were full and if you closed your eyes you could see the Sugar Plum Faeries dancing during the beautiful melodies of the Nutcracker Suite.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable event and we cannot wait until February 14 th , 2004 when we bring the River City Salon Orchestra to Sunbury Village ! What a way to spend a Valentines Day afternoon?! This event is also the anticipated debut of the youth portion of MUSE program. This portion of MUSE involves children from schools in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties in which they will spend a few days prior to the MUSE event talking about aging, learning about what it means to grow old, dispelling the myths of aging, reading books about aging and completing a project that will connect the students to the elders in their lives and in their communities. Following this pre-teaching curriculum, the students will attend a MUSE event at one of the local elder facilities where they will socialize with the facility's residents and enjoy the majestic music of the BSO. Following the event, the student groups will be encouraged to continue their intergenerational connections through an e-pal program where the MUSE youth participants and the MUSE elder participants will maintain their connection through e-mail.
MUSE stands for Music Uniting Students and Elders.so, here we go! Hold onto your hats while MUSE tantalizes the senses of all the ages!
MUSE Kick-off a Success!
Bangor , ME - On September 14 th , 2003 MUSE (Music Uniting Students and Elders) had its kick-off event at NFI-North's 726 Finson Road , a facility for elders living with mental illness. However, it was not only kick-off of MUSE, it was the 5 th year anniversary celebration of Finson Road and their annual family and friends gathering! The theme this year: country picnic. And nothing suits a country picnic better than the Bangor Symphony Orchestra's Acadia Brass Ensemble. Musicians Wanda and Bill Whitener, Lori Wingo and Ken Miller had the residents, staff, family and friends of 726 tapping their toes and clapping their hands. Bangor Mayor, Nichi Farnam made an appearance as well as the Executive Director of NFI-North Paul Dann, Assistant Director, Karen Gincott, Finson Road Agency Supervisor, Christa Nadeau and University of Maine Center on Aging Director, Lenard Kaye. It was an event fun for all ages and even animals.a friendly goose named "Uno" waddled around during the performance and enjoyed the Acadia Brass Ensemble serenade of "Rubber Ducky" while a gray spotted pony waited on the side lines for the guests to come and ride.
MUSE is a collaborative program of the University of Maine Center on Aging and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. MUSE is a program that brings the majestic sounds of the Bangor Symphony to elder facilities in Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties . The program is based on the concept that music is a bridge between all generations and stimulates positive emotions that lead to healthier and happier lives. Furthermore, MUSE provides an opportunity for elders to connect with their community and to break the cycle of being pushed to the outskirts of society to a life of isolation. As the program matures, students from local schools will be invited to participate in the events at the elder facilities. This intergenerational activity will provide students with an intellectual, arts education experience while simultaneously providing an opportunity to share a special experience with elders.