Mudcat Café message #756784 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49818   Message #756784
Posted By: Marion
30-Jul-02 - 02:51 AM
Thread Name: Getting nursing home gigs
Subject: RE: Getting nursing home gigs
Re: "let someone from the kitchen cut into their act" and "the impertinence of a peripheral staffer":

I actually hadn't thought about it that way at all until now. I appreciated the girl's desire to do some of the fiddling because then I could accompany her on the piano, and I figure that a fiddle-piano duet would be nicer than a long stretch of solo fiddle. But I suppose it could have backfired, if she turned out not to be any good, so maybe it's too risky to let a stranger sit in. And maybe it has backfired on me with me realizing - if it made the AD look at me as less professional because of this.

I showed this thread to my mother today, who has been doing hymn singalongs at nursing homes as a volunteer for 25 years. She says that what makes her events there different from almost everybody else's (volunteer or paid) is that it's meant to be highly participatory, not a performance. They hand out lyric books, and ask for requests, and help people find their places in the books, and change tempo partway through a song to accomodate someone who's singing at a different tempo. She has also had many experiences of people who are apparently very disengaged from the world start to respond when a familiar hymn is sung - and the staff tell her that many people are more alert for hours after a hymnsing.

She also told me that while virtually all of the musicians who play at the nursing homes in our town are volunteers, for the volunteer appreciation dinners (to which the residents aren't invited), they hire a band. That's funny, but not in a ha-ha way.