Edmonds Center for Arts to offer dementia-friendly training for local artists Feb 24

Jackie Vanderbeck, right, founded Sing for Your Seniors. (Photo courtesy ECA)

The Edmonds Center for the Arts invites professional musical theatre artists, vocalists and students to attend a free training from 5-8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24 aimed athletes helping professionals tailor their performance approach to engage individuals living with memory loss.

Sing For Your Seniors was inspired by founder Jackie Vanderbeck’s love and admiration for her great-grandmother. “She always loved hearing my friends and me sing when we visited her senior care home,” Vanderbeck explains. “I felt a unique connection to my grandma when I sang to her. That connection and her emotional response made me realize music has enormous therapeutic value for seniors, especially those who are showing signs of withdrawal.”

In honor of her grandmother, in 2005, Vanderbeck started Sing For Your Seniors as a one-person a cappella hour at the Village Adult Day Center in New York’s West Village. Today, Sing For Your Seniors has grown to include 200 singers, 20 pianists, and has provided over 925 performances, bringing the joy of music to many thousands of seniors.

Following the Sing For Your Seniors training, ECA plans to hold an audition process in spring 2020, with the objective to create a roster of SFYS-trained artists who will share their musical talents in local assisted living and memory care communities. “One of ECA’s key goals in expanding our programming for individuals with memory loss is to reach those with mid- to late-stage dementias,” explains Gillian Jones, ECA’s Director of Programming. “Individuals living in care environments are often no longer able to access ECA’s onsite programs. With Sing For Your Seniors, we plan to train local artists, and bring the music directly to these communities.”

ECA’s Dementia-Inclusive Series is a line-up of arts engagement programs designed with accessibility for people with memory loss as a priority. Launched in 2015, the series developed collaboratively with the feedback and support of senior services organizations, memory care professionals, and arts groups in the Puget Sound region. Its mission is to create opportunities for people with memory loss and their care partners to connect and experience joy through the arts.

The Sing For Your Seniors training is free to attend, with RSVP required. Contact Gillian Jones at gillian@ec4arts.org or 425-275-9483 for more information.


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