Research has shown that singing and listening to music provides people with many benefits including memory recall, positive changes in mood and emotional status, and reduction of anxiety and stress.
The Tanglewood group has made music a top priority when planning activities for their residents. They have their own music director, Mary Schmidt, who has been a part of the activities staff since 1999. Mary has several years of experience directing and singing with community music programs and has personally studied piano and voice.
Mary's role at Tanglewood Manor and Memory Garden is to provide daily and weekly musical offerings for residents. She facilitates such activities as music trivia, drum circles, Classical Club and Music for the Soul. She directs the well known "Golden Gems" choir, assisted by her husband, accompanist Andrew Schmidt. The Gems, whose membership includes residents of both Tanglewood Manor and Memory Garden, have performed more than 100 concerts in the Jamestown area over the past nine years. Mary also directs hand bell choirs at both facilities. These groups practice nearly every week providing regular social stimulation for members as well as performance opportunities.
Mary said that she often gets comments from people when the choir sings at outside events stating that hearing the Gems makes them "unafraid of getting older." She loves to take our residents out in the community to show them off and to let the world know that they are vital, energetic people who love what they do, and also love to share it with others.
The activities departments at both Memory Garden and Tanglewood Manor schedule many opportunities for the residents to enjoy a variety of musical offerings throughout the year. There are weekly coffee hours with entertainment such Lucille Miller, a local pianist who offers sing-a-long opportunities each Friday morning, and afternoon or evening concerts featuring various styles of music including pop, country, classical, jazz and old time rock 'n' roll. Attendance at these events is always very good with residents often inviting friends and family members to join them. Specialized groups from local school systems and other area performance groups also visit regularly to round out the programs. Daycare clients from Comfort Today join in on the fun whenever their busy schedule permits.
Tanglewood is committed to offering activities to residents that will enhance their lives and keep them happy and active. The music program is unlike any other that is offered for seniors in this area, and they are very proud of their team members who work so hard to provide this quality program.