One of the many benefits of calling a senior living community your home, is the vast array of opportunities to learn new things and participate in different activities. Sure, you can take part in traditional card games such as 500, euchre, bridge and so on, but at Saint Therese senior communities, we try to offer our residents some out-of-the-box programs.
Case in point: We recently completed a thoroughly engaging music education program, Adult Music Learning Series, at Saint Therese of Oxbow Lake in Brooklyn Park. The 7-week program wasn’t one where residents learned how to play an instrument or were entertained by musicians (although it was entertaining). Rather it was a richer experience of learning about music.
The program was led by OboeBass!, a talented husband and wife duo comprised of Dr. Carrie Vecchione (who plays the oboe) and Dr. Rolf Erdahl (who plays the double bass). OboeBass! takes the audience on a journey to experience, in depth, the backgrounds of some famous composers and to better understand different types of music and how the music can be interpreted.
While that may seem dull and intense, Carrie and Rolf teach in a most amusing way. They use multiple audio and visual formats, of course they play their instruments….and they top it off with a variety of props and antics to the delight of the audience.
Four of the seven topics in their series were:
Mozart, the Boy Genius, and the Masons – learn about one of the most famous composers of all time and experience The Magic Flute.
The Spirit Sings – the rich legacy of African-American music, its growth from slave songs to jazz to performers such as Marian Anderson.
The Carnival of the Animals – the life and music of the genius Camille Saint Saens with focus on his delightful musical menagerie.
The Classical and Jazzy Nutcracker – Tchaikovsky and his famous ballet with a comparison to Duke Ellington’s jazz version.
More than 20 Oxbow Lake residents attended the series week after week, and thoroughly enjoyed it, as could be seen from their rapt expressions, laughter and smiles.
“I found them very interesting,” said resident Rosemary Petersen. “I have learned a lot about orchestration and different composers.” Similarly, resident Sharon Leadens said, “It was wonderful and also great to be with other people.”
Carrie and Rolf said these programs are some of the most rewarding things they do. “We love hearing positive responses and we also believe these programs can build community by giving people something to talk about with others, often including sharing their experiences with music.” Carrie teaches at the MacPhail Center for music and in her home studio; Rolf teaches at Gustavus Adolphus.
OboeBass! and other unique programs are provided through the Saint Therese Foundation’s grant funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board for Creative Support for Organizations.
“These programs and activities were carefully selected to give our residents the opportunity to gain access to unique and culturally diverse programs, unlike anything currently offered at Saint Therese,” said Jen Bettencourt, Vice President of Philanthropy for Saint Therese. “We love bringing these artists and programs to our campuses.”