Dec 27, 2009

Seniors Bring Song, Hope To Alzheimer Patients

All of a sudden these people went from wilted flowers to blooming flowers right in front of me. They were alert. They were singing. They were totally different people. And it was like, ‘oh my goodness.’ Music is so much more powerful than I had any idea.
They call themselves the Show Stoppers, a merry band of senior citizens who perform for people with Alzheimer’s.

“They come to the shows and for a while they are themselves again,” said performer Lila Gilbert. “And maybe they forget it after, but for a while they are themselves.”


Lila Gilbert, 95, is one of 27 in the troupe, which performs in more than 35 shows at more than a dozen locations around the city each year. Recently they starred at the 80th Street Residence in Manhattan.

“I like watching the faces of the audience and I will know if they are receptive to what I do,” said 91-year-old singer Rosario Avelino. “That’s what pleases me, when I see that.”
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The group's founder is musical director Christina Britton Conroy, a professionally-trained opera singer who changed careers and became a music therapist after she had a "tada" moment one Christmas while performing at a nursing home.

“All of a sudden these people went from wilted flowers to blooming flowers right in front of me,” she recalled. “They were alert. They were singing. They were totally different people. And it was like, ‘oh my goodness.’ Music is so much more powerful than I had any idea.”

Ordinary people spreading joy.

File under: uplifting.

Bob DeMarco is the Founder and Editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized influencer, speaker, and expert in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community Worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,000 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content +Bob DeMarco , Alzheimer's Reading Room