Retirement communities and nursing homes may not be the first places that come to mind when thinking of live music performances, and jazz in particular. With names like “Shady Pines” or “Sunset Lanes” these places evoke images of people quitly sitting, waiting for whatever is next on the calendar–Bingo, anyone? Well, not so much in Charlottesville VA. For the past seven years, the local nursing homes have gotten a monthly dose of swing that rivals the sounds heard in a high end jazz club. Nursing Homes Swing!, a program founded in 2007 by Jackie and the late Bob Hostage, grew out of its creators’ love for jazz and swing. Being of a respectable age themselves, they understood how hard it is for older people to hear the music they like, simply because it isn’t played much on the radio.
These days most of the residents in nursing homes rarely have the means or mobility to go out and see a music show. The Hostages began organizing musical performances for the residents in the Charlottesville area nursing homes and assisted living facilities andNursing Homes Swing! was born. As a non profit organization, NHS! is supported by several grants and donations with all proceeds going solely to the local professional musicians who provide the live concerts. I too have the privilege of participating in this wonderful initiative on a regular basis and I am loving it. Not only is it truly rewarding to play for an audience that really appreciates the performance, it is also a lot of fun to hear residents humming along with tunes from the past that they know so well. After all, they were there – and young – when the tunes I sing were big hits. Playing for the elderly has taught me once again that sharing music is a great joy for me and the audience.
On November 8, 2014 NHS! will hold their annual Fall Fundraiser at C’ville Coffee. Check their website for more information: www.nursinghomesswing.com
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