By MARILYN TINNIN
More Than A Concert
The renowned Mississippi Chorus will present a very moving tribute to all whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s in a most unusual concert in three cities in Mississippi during the month of October. Tupelo, Jackson, and Cleveland will host events. The choral work presented is a three-movement work by composer Robert S. Cohen with libretto that tells moving stories of Alzheimer patients. It debuted to rave reviews in 2009 and more rave reviews when performed at Carnegie Hall a few years later.
Executive Director of the Chorus, Sherry Castle Boyer, has worked tirelessly to bring this particular event to Mississippi. Her reasons transcend a mere appreciation and passion for a choral experience.
“I believe the health of any community culture is measured, in part, by its support of the arts. Additionally, a viable arts organization needs to contribute to the fabric of the community in meaningful ways. One of those ways is, naturally, via the art form the organization offers. When an opportunity was presented to provide meaningful community support regarding Alzheimer’s disease through music, The Mississippi Chorus moved swiftly to find partners. Together with the Dementia Care Network of Mississippi, we designed this concert to bring awareness and support to those facing the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease not just locally, but throughout the state. The Chorus has committed to performances in Jackson, Cleveland, and Tupelo. The emerging information revealing the role music plays in brain health is not only inspiring, it brings relevance to a variety of therapies.”
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time an awareness and support concert event for Alzheimer’s disease has been performed that offers a program that is relevant to many interests. Not only will there be a stunning choral performance of a significant composition concerning the disease, we are also offering continuing medical education credit, support information and resources provided by exhibitors, an opportunity to honor a loved one affected by the disease in the souvenir program, AND the opportunity to meet Miss America and the composer!
“It has been incredibly energizing to work through organizing this concert with the Dementia Care Network of Mississippi. The numbers of individuals, families, healthcare providers and agencies working through this disease process are staggering. If this concert event can bring awareness and support to those facing the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, we will have met our goal. Any monies realized after expenses will fund ongoing Alzheimer’s research, clinical services, and caregiver support in Mississippi,” Sherry says.
Dr. Mark Nabholz, Artistic Director of The Mississippi Chorus, will conduct the concerts with chorus, orchestra, and soloists. The first is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 27 at Woodland Hills Baptist Church in Jackson. A Saturday afternoon concert at 3 p.m. at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the Delta State Campus is next, and then a Sunday evening concert at the Link Centre in Tupelo at 7 p.m.
What if music has a special power to restore and bring a measure of reconnection with that loved one? Dr. Timothy Coker, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Music at Millsaps College, has done considerable research on the connection between the mind and music and especially the way music can be used to improved mental health and extend quality of life with dementia, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s. He will share some of his valuable insights through a brief but informative lecture.
Research confirms that music helps boost brain activity and can greatly transform the quality of life for a dementia patient. Alzheimer’s currently affects more than five million Americans. That staggering statistic does not include the family members, friends, and caregivers whose lives are also turned inside out by the disease that steals the mind of the victim and leaves behind a stranger.
More than just a concert, this is an event. Concert attendees will have ample time to visit the exhibitor tables before and after the concert and during the reception where they can meet with the composer, conductor and other special guests.