Music can be like medicine when old songs get seniors to sing along. That’s what the 12-person women’s karaoke group known as The Jewels aims to do when it sings to seniors.
For the past seven and a half years, the volunteer vocalists have been visiting six local assisted living and memory-care homes to entertain residents. They sing for nearly an hour, bringing back songs from the seniors’ younger days and reintroducing songs these folks once danced to — “Moonglow,” “I’m Just Wild about Harry,” “East Side, West Side,” “Makin’ Whoopee,” “Home on the Range,” “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie” and other classics.
A recent show at La Posada’s La Via memory-care facility on Sept. 8 was the group’s 260th show since it began in March 2010.
Each performance includes about 18 songs, lasts about 50 minutes, and has the lyrics projected on a TV screen so seniors — and sometimes The Jewels — can get memory help to the words.
Residents are encouraged to join in and sing along, said Joyce MacClugage. She prepares the program for each show and maintains the details of where The Jewels have entertained. Other Jewel members have other responsibilities.
MacClugage said the women started out singing at the Elks Lodge on Friday nights and began discussing volunteering at local assisted-living facilities.
“Our good friend Roseanne Johannson took it upon herself to go around to the various places to see if they would be interested and booked us into a few facilities,” she said.
The women named themselves The Jewels…
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