The Issue: Health Benefits of Music for Senior Citizens
Many seniors in long-term-care facilities and hospitals are effectively homebound. Whether injured or ill, many cannot travel easily or afford to attend cultural events in the area. However, musical performances in care facilities can provide myriad health benefits. Music in the intensive-care unit can reduce people’s perception of pain, lower blood pressure, and increase relaxation, according to a report from Stanford Hospital. In addition, concerts can help improve psychological states by increasing social interaction among residents and giving them something to look forward to.
The Campaign: Performing Baroque Music for Seniors
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by Salish Sea Players to perform baroque chamber-music concerts for local senior citizens who could not otherwise attend a professional concert. For every $300 raised, the trio of musicians can perform one 60-minute concert at a local care facility or hospital. When Salish Sea Players perform in these venues, the facilities usually pay as much as they can afford through the fair-share method—usually a small portion of what a concert costs, though sometimes nothing at all.
Before and after the concerts, the three performing musicians invite people to ask questions about the music and instruments: two baroque violins and a harpsichord. The concerts themselves include baroque pieces from composers including Handel and Purcell.
Salish Sea Players
Lilting voices from two violins and a harpsichord etch out the notes of Purcell’s Pavan in B-flat Major, filling a small room with layered textures and slowly unfolding emotions. The three performers lean into their instruments, their private concert as intimate as it would have been if performed in the 17th century. This is what the Salish Sea Players create at each of their concerts: unexpected music in unexpected venues. Linda Melsted and Olga Hauptman on baroque violins and Fred Hauptman on the harpsichord perform in retirement, memory-care, and long-term-care facilities for people who are unable to attend traditional venues due to a lack of mobility or resources.
Before each concert, the trio greets audience members individually and answers questions about the historical instruments they use and the style of music they play. Their instruments reflect what would have been used historically: antique bows, strings made of unwound gut, and copies of original scores. Then they fill the air with the sounds of Handel, Mazas, Sousa, or Bartok, the sweet music combining with the historical approach to create an intriguing atmosphere and educational moment for the audience to share together.
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