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Music Brings Worlds Together

upside down Fixed

It has been a long standing tradition of the Five Acre School music program to boldly go where no marimba band has gone before, spreading the joy of music in their wake. The host of our latest excursion was Discovery Memory Care, a Sequim residential care facility specializing in memory loss.

I make no pretense of knowing everything about retirement homes and care facilities, of which there are several in our community. But in my admittedly limited experience, they have struck me as places of quiet routine and gentle living. I’m sure that the staff of such facilities would have a plethora of stories illustrating the contrary at times, but that’s pretty much my layman’s take on it.

The school’s marimba players, who call themselves “Soundwaves”, have often put on concerts at places which care for the elderly. But there is always something amazing for me about the sight of thirty-odd kids descending upon these places with marimba mallets in hand, bringing in with them grins of anticipation and lots and lots of very large wooden instruments. The whole picture is not unlike a medium sized herd of African elephants strolling into a breakfast bar hoping to engage in a bit of early morning hopscotch, while the local residents look on in calm and curious alarm.

And then, as the students play, the wonder starts to creep into the faces of those residents. Feet start tapping, heads bobbing, arms swaying. There is a connection as the children play. The music seems almost empowering for both the ten-somethings and the ninetly-somethings.

staging the musicians

Art and Music teacher Rosie gets the kids ready for their entrance.

The power of these instruments in particular is, in my opinion, especially valuable for conveying the merits of music to the elderly. Marimbas are instruments which, when gathered together and played collectively, create an astounding resonance which is impossible to describe in writing. The sound builds all around and binds everyone in the whole room together. It is an amazing orchestration, made possible by everyone contributing his or her own small part to the whole.

I’d like to thank Discovery Memory Center for giving us the opportunity to share our music with the residents and staff there, and also thank Tom Blore for the generous loan of his box truck. There are lots and lots of large instruments involved, after all…