Caesars Windsor Cares presented the Windsor Symphony Orchestra (WSO) Music for Health Program a cheque for $28,500 for the next three years to assist the WSO in bringing live music to home bound seniors who would not otherwise have access to such performances.
Cardinal Place Retirement Living at 3140 Peter Street in historic Olde Sandwich Towne was the site for Tuesday afternoon’s presentation. The media and residents of the facility joined members of Windsor Symphony Orchestra and Caesars Windsor in the quaint and acoustically flawless chapel that features three of the original stained glass windows from the old St. Mary’s Academy.
After opening greetings and remarks by WSO Board Chair, Sheila Geddes, an explanation of the WSO Music for Health program was provided by Faith Scholfield, WSO Education and Outreach Manager.
Music for Health performances were developed in partnership with a local music therapist and designed to physically and intellectually engage residents of seniors’ homes. Seniors are encouraged to participate physically using small percussion instruments and to request songs that have special meaning for them. The residents are also encouraged to share memories and stories that are elicited by the music they hear. These programs always feature a mix of familiar pop and classical tunes. According to Scholfield, “it is important for people who can’t get to us, that we come to them.” She further states, “we learn so much from the seniors’ stories and memories as they reminisce listening and participating in familiar music in the comfort of their home.”
Kelly Wolfe Gregoire, V.P. Human Resources, Caesars Windsor, made the cheque presentation. According to Gregoire, “the Caesars Windsor Cares program provides resources to strengthen the community where we work and live; this donation will enrich the lives of older adults in our community and help reduce their isolation, promote health and well-being and enrich the lives of homebound seniors.”
Currently the WSO Music for Health program has funding enough for two weeks of engaging the seniors in Windsor and Essex County. With today’s donation of $28,500, the next three years will see the program expanded to four weeks. There are other performances in late January and early February scheduled for Chartwell Oak Park, Regency Park, Village of Aspen Lake, Château Park, Royal Marquis Retirement Residence and the St. Clair Beach Retirement Community.
After the formalities of the speeches and check presentation, the residents of Cardinal Place were treated to an hour long interactive concert by the Windsor Symphony Orchestra String Quartet, under the direction of Peter Wiebe. Song selections were provided by the residents from classical, popular and traditional music genres. The residents were also provided with an assortment of percussion instruments and were urged to join the WSO String Quartet with their instruments and their voices.
According to John Carpente, founder and Executive Director of the Rebecca Center for Music Therapy in New York, “by listening to live music and being involved in live music making experiences, a greater quality of life is possible.” Recent reports have demonstrated the importance of music in combating the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Music improves mood, attention span, socialization, psychological morale, memory, and reduces stress.
Feature photo: WSO String Quartet, under the direction of Peter Wiebe (far right). Photo by Joe McParland