"People Opened Up and Joined In"

Our work with seniors in Tompkins County got off to a busy start in 2016! April 15th was our most recent program with seniors locally, at Juniper Manor, where Samite engaged senior residents and students aged 9-13 from the Namaste Montessori School on a sunny afternoon.  As the program progressed, seniors opened up, interacting, singing and asking questions.  A report on the project's outcomes is now available.

Samite's work with the Age of Disruption Tour is in full swing as well, with the next set of dates coming in New England in mid-May.  To quote the Tour's website, Age of Disruption 2016 is a modern day American Chautauqua movement barnstorming the country in a rock n’ roll tour bus to bring communities a new and highly disruptive understanding of aging.  To learn more about it, see when it might be near you, or get tickets, visit https://drbillthomas.org In between performances, Samite brings MWH's mission to senior centers and communities, as a part of this group's work to demonstrate the healing power of music for those struggling with dementia or other issues of aging.  The tour and its work will continue through November 2016.

We look forward to sharing our progress with you.  To find out how to support Musicians for World Harmony’s work, click here.

"My Soul Has Been Enriched. Please Come Back Soon"!

-Stacey Murphy, Development Mgr., MWH - January 2016

      No story is quite as powerful as a firsthand experience.  I have been working with Musicians For World Harmony for several months now, learning about how the music and engagement brings seniors out of their inner worlds, stimulating memory and community.  I’ve heard stories.  I’ve seen video clips.  But seeing the work in person at Ellis Hollow Road Apartments on December 18th was really something beautiful.
     Samite Mulondo, the founding director of MWH, led a group of about 20 seniors, in all (and a couple non seniors including a grandbaby) in the program.  There was singing, dancing, instrument playing by the residents as they joined into Samite’s songs and then led their own.  One woman led “Silent Night” and was moved to sing it in French.  In spite of her bad knees, another older woman got up and danced – twice - in a way that my middle aged body hardly remembers .  The party continued after the program was over.  One man said it reminded him of Bob Dylan, and sang a little of “Forever Young” then wound up in conversation with another resident of which CD’s of Dylan's they each have.  
     I asked the woman who sang in French if she was born there.  It turns out she wasn’t, but she spent the next 20 minutes recalling her life as a teen and then a young woman at Nazareth College who got to spend a year abroad as part of her French major.  She sang more songs for me and lapsed into French from time to time as she told me finely detailed memories of that vibrant, important time in her life.
Later, on her evaluation form, she shared that before the program she had felt tired, and had bad news from her doctor that morning, and her throat was dry.  After the program she said she felt “much better”.  These sorts of impressions are common throughout the other feedback forms we collected that day, including the statement in this story's title. 
     Short and simple – Music Heals.  I’m thrilled to be a part of the work of this great organization and can’t wait for our next program in January.

Music Heals coming to Ithaca area!

Thanks to a grant from the Tompkins Charitable Gift Fund, Musicians for World Harmony will soon bring the Music Heals benefits to seniors at three centers in the Ithaca area.  Plans are underway for a performance at McGraw House in Ithaca, and two more locations in late 2015 and early 2016.

Senior centers have long striven to build common areas, computer rooms, libraries and group activities into their offerings.  Still, most have little or no funding to pay for supportive programming or entertainment that encourages sociability, particularly those that serve low-income seniors.  Musicians for World Harmony is developing partnerships with the managers of these senior housing facilities.  We expect that about 50 people will benefit from this grant and are very grateful to the Tompkins Charitable Gift Fund.