Hey there! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season full of music and relaxation. Music Service Club just had its first meeting of 2018, where we kicked off another semester of, well, service! We saw lots of familiar faces and welcomed many new ones.
Now for something a little different!
Over winter break, I went to see the (relatively) new Disney Pixar movie, Coco. This might seem sort of out of nowhere, but for those of you who've seen it, you can probably guess where this is going. Coco is about the power of memory and, more relevantly, the power of music!
Without giving too much away, the protagonist Miguel is an amateur musician who loves music and wants to share it, but his family doesn't allow him to play his guitar. His great-grandmother, another character in the movie, suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Her name is Mama Coco, and Miguel loves to talk to her and spend time with her as much as he loves music. The movie spends a long time building up Mama Coco as a lovable character both to the audience and to her great-grandson.
At some point in the movie, though, Mama Coco's condition worsens. She starts to forget some very important things about family and becomes verbally unresponsive. Miguel is there with her as this happens, and the scene starts to feel very real as we watch her forget through his eyes.
But then, Miguel starts to play and sing a song from Mama Coco's past. The audience watches her face light up and her fingers start to tap on the arm of her wheelchair. As soon as the song ends, Mama Coco happily relays experiences from her life that this song returned to her. It's clear that she isn't cured, but for a moment, music grants her happiness and comfort and brings her back to her family.
I rarely cry at movies, but I'm not ashamed to admit I was a bit of a mess after that scene.
Even though it was fiction, Coco held so much truth about the power of music and what it can do for people. If you ever get a chance, definitely give it a watch. Just make sure you have an entire box of tissues beside you.
Wow, what an exciting fall we've had!
Just a few days before Halloween, we were able to play for APO Boyscouts, who were an awesome and energetic audience. Lots of catchy tunes made it into that night's program, including songs by Coldplay, The Beatles, and Clean Bandit. Everybody was able to shake along to the beat with the maracas we made at our last meeting!
At the end of the night, everyone sang along to the classic crowd favorite "Wagon Wheel," which was a really rockin' time!
Above: A large group of MSC Club members bring down the house with "Wagon Wheel."
A couple of days after the APO Event, our club had quite a spooky bonding experience in a haunted house! Then, it was back to rehearsing for our upcoming performance at Juniper Village. I had never been to an event at Juniper Village myself, but I heard that it was a great place to play, full of wonderful people. Accordingly, I had high expectations on my way there...
...and what a great time it was! Everyone was able to perform a solo or collaboration for an audience of truly sweet people. (Talking to them was just as much a highlight of the trip as the music.)
A lot of different instruments and songs were played (everything from Mozart to pop), but above you can see our member Bob performing "Tenerife Sea" by Ed Sheeran. Go Bob!
Here's to a happy Thanksgiving and more events like these in the winter!
That's right; events are starting to pop up more frequently! In the past two weeks, MSC has performed quite a few times.
Last Friday (the 13th! Spooky!), club members visited LifeLink for the first time this semester! It was great to be back; what a privilege it is to play for such positive and wonderful people.
For our next time with LifeLink, and at our upcoming APO Boyscout event, we'll have a surprise that lets everyone play along with us! We spent a fun club meeting making the surprise--maybe you can guess what it is from the picture below!
The following Sunday, a group of members headed on over to The Village nursing home. A variety of music and instruments brought light and warmth to the room (just like the oddly warm October weather outside). Here are just a few pictures of those goings-on!
Down the road for Music Service Club are rehearsals, some fun club bonding events (like braving a haunted house!), and of course, more fun events like these!
Hope to see you at an MSC event in the future, and have a musical week!
As you can see, our performance at the Oaks was quite full--I had to take a panorama to fit all of the club members and audience members in the frame!
There was so much talent at this event, with music selections ranging from Chopin to Disney, and we all sang along to "You Are My Sunshine." That's not to mention how many different instruments made an appearance: strings, piano, voice, and even a bodiless guitar!
After our performance we spent some time talking to the residents, which was a lot of fun. I learned from one woman that her son had taught himself how to play guitar. I found that really impressive, because I've tried (unsuccessfully) many times to learn guitar, let alone teach it to myself.
All of the residents seemed to have a great time, and when I asked someone what her favorite song of our set had been, she just replied, "I liked all of it!" That made everyone in the conversation smile.
All in all, our visit to the Oaks made for a great few hours for everybody. I look forward to returning in the future, so that we can brighten residents' days and so they can brighten ours!
On March 19, 2017, the Music Service Club had the privilege of playing for the Wynwood House in Boalsburg, a local assisted-living retirement home. This was the third time this academic year that the club was able to play for Wynwood, and like previous performances, it was a huge success! This time around, almost a dozen members were able to play for the event, playing music ranging from Elvis Presley to Phil Collins. Shout out to one of our members, Donnie, for bringing the house down with “You Are My Sunshine,” a song that sparked all of the residents and club members to sing along. I would have never thought to play this for an event but it was obviously a great song choice! It must have brought back some really great memories for so many to participate.
Following the event, the club received a very heartfelt message from someone who was at Wynwood visiting his mom during our event. He explained how much his mom appreciated the music and talked about it far after the event—something extraordinary given that she has dementia.
I couldn’t be more proud of the club and thankful for all of those who played for the event or similar events in the past. Our events are clearly making a huge positive impact in the community through the power of music.
- John M
On March 2nd, 2017, Music Service Club enjoyed the privilege to continue its partnership with Penn State Troop 339 and Penn State’s Alpha Phi Omega (Alpha Beta Chapter). It’s hard to believe that our work with Troop 339, a group of mentally handicapped adult men, began in the first semester of Music Service Club’s existence. Back then, only a few members attended the performance. This time, nearly a dozen members participated and played music ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Don McLean. Not surprisingly, Beatles songs dominated the performance and got the whole Troop singing and clapping. The success of this event meant a lot to me, as APO Boy Scouts was one of my first experiences playing with Music Service Club. Plus, it felt great to hear so many first-time members report how much they enjoyed getting to play for the Troop.
As I looked out at the crowd during the performance, I saw big smiles across the faces of each Boy Scout. Many of them knew all of the words to the songs. However, one particular memory of the performance stands out in my mind. One of the Boy Scouts walked in late to the performance and insisted on shaking the hand of everyone in our club (even the ones who were in the middle of performing!). The same Boy Scout also counted off each performer as though we were in a recording study, which made everyone laugh. All in all, the combination of the Boy Scout’s love for our music and impressive turnout made this a memorable event. We even took a service selfie at the end! I hope that our partnership with Penn State Troop 339 and Alpha Phi Omega continues in the years to come.
On January 21, 2017, members of MSC met up with Penn State's Ukelele Club at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA. Musicians performed at the medical center's lobby, projecting melodies and tunes to those passing by on their way to visit their loved ones. A few musicians had the opportunity to go up and play on patients' floors and hopefully brighten their day.
Afterwards, the club stopped by Hershey's Chocolate World before heading back to State College. This trip was a wonderful bonding experience, and thank you to everyone who could come! It was a sweet day and hopefully an even sweeter day for the ears to whom our music reached.
Music Service Club visited PSU Life Link in the HUB in its first event of the Fall semester. As always, playing for (and singing WITH) the kids was a blast, and there are many more events coming up soon! Here's a cool video from the performance:
Check out this article recently published in The Collegian about Music Therapy Club’s commitment to service and partnership with LifeLink PSU!