Outreach program that brings the arts and culture to local seniors, even if they are unable to travel to Whiting.
MUSIC, CULTURE, JOY
A popular YouTube video shows a woman in her 90s with dementia, seemingly oblivious to the world around her. Then the music starts -church hymns from her childhood. She moves a single finger first. Then her hand pats a rhythm and soon her foot starts tapping along. As she lifts her head up from her chest, her eyes become more vibrant, present in the moment.
Eventually the music guides her back into the real world. With an outburst of song radiating from her soul past her lips, you hear her sing with conviction and passion. The music reached her. It brought her back. Music and the arts are the keys to touch the spirit of humanity.
Geriatric experts have long known music can contribute to senior citizens’ quality of life, making them feel connected and positive and giving them a sense of harmony. The Whiting has launched Entertainment Express, an outreach program that brings the arts and culture to local seniors, even if they are unable to travel to Whiting performances. “The idea is if you cannot come to us, we will come to you,” said Wendi Fournier, The Whiting marketing and media relations manager.
The program sends entertainers to local nursing homes, assisted living communities and senior centers, filling the facilities with music, laughter and a sense of good times. Shows performed in activities room and lobbies bring delight and life into sterile environments. Seniors hum, sing and even dance in their wheelchairs.
One attendee at a recent performance said the music “returned happy spots of life, like my childhood school-days, friends, and special moments in life.” Entertainment Express performances have included music, theatrical productions and more. with Entertainment Express. “Working with The Whiting’s Entertainment Express has been one of the most positive experiences in my life and musical career,” Kedree said. “It’s truly a blessing to be performing for such wonderful audiences and I’m very excited to be back on board for the summer season.” The funding for Entertainment Express comes from the Flint Cultural Center Corp.’s annual event, “Growing Up Artfully,” now in its 11th year. Seniors in Genesee County have been thrilled with the performances. Which should be no surprise — today’s grandmas and grandpas were the start to what we now call rock ‘n’ roll.
By: Elizabeth Marasco