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My Nursing Home Gig

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GUEST,Gern 21 Sep 02 - 10:49 AM
53 21 Sep 02 - 01:12 PM
Marion 21 Sep 02 - 05:03 PM
Banjer 22 Sep 02 - 03:55 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 22 Sep 02 - 11:35 PM
Pennny 23 Sep 02 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Dunkle 23 Sep 02 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,Gern 23 Sep 02 - 11:14 AM
Genie 23 Sep 02 - 07:48 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 23 Sep 02 - 09:50 PM
Genie 23 Sep 02 - 11:48 PM
Ferrara 02 Oct 02 - 12:23 PM
Art Thieme 03 Oct 02 - 01:56 PM
GUEST 14 Oct 02 - 11:49 PM
GUEST,Gern 15 Oct 02 - 10:40 AM
53 15 Oct 02 - 10:48 AM
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Subject: My Nursing Home Gig
From: GUEST,Gern
Date: 21 Sep 02 - 10:49 AM

Well, you all talked me into it, so I volunteered to play piano at a local nursing home. Haven't played out in a long while, what with hearing and throat problems, and I was looking to get back into shape and resume some confidence. Had also neglected piano with recent work on banjo. So I did it, and you know what? Best audience I ever played for. While I set up, they sat around the room like potted plants; an hour later, they were clapping and smiling, singing and even dancing. One old lady even "rushed the stage," cruising up to me in her wheelchair to get a closer look. I played lots of traditional jazz and ragtime, and sang some to encourage them to do the same. Thanks to Jerry Rasmussen for several posts on the humanitarian value of these gigs, as well as the suggestions of several others. I'll be there for the Ice Cream Social every Friday, and I'll bet I get as much out of it as they will.


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: 53
Date: 21 Sep 02 - 01:12 PM

keep up the good work.


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: Marion
Date: 21 Sep 02 - 05:03 PM

That sounds great, Gern, good for you.

My parents volunteered to lead hymn sings at nursing homes for 20 years and rarely missed a week - he sang, she played piano. Since my father's death my mother has tried to keep it up, but since she doesn't sing she has struggled to find partners. I do it when I'm in town, and a few others go with her when they can, but she hasn't been able to find any volunteers that can equal my father's dedication to the job.

I'm trying to convince her that it's time for a change in format and she should just play the hymns as piano instrumentals rather than constantly stressing over finding someone to lead the singing. I'll tell her how well your solo piano playing went over.

Cheers, Marion


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: Banjer
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 03:55 PM

Way to go Gern! I'm sure the residents of the homes look forward to someone entertaining them and really enjoy it! I've heard you on the banjo and would love to hear your honky tonk piano playing sometime. Hey, I know...Next week at the Bluegrass Shop bring both the banjo AND your piano....Good Idea...Huh???


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 11:35 PM

And...when the "geriatric gig" is mastered, and your self confidence with it....will you go to the schools and the children, so the tradition is continued?


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: Pennny
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 09:58 AM

That is nice. Residents of nursing homes need people to bring in the outer world.


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: GUEST,Dunkle
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 10:13 AM

How about listing the songs you played - I've been tempted to try the same thing, i.e. volunteer to lead songs at the local retirement home - and would do what I learned at my parents' player piano : Bill Bailey, Have I told you lately that I love you, etc. I'd be interested to know what you sang that connected with that crowd.


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: GUEST,Gern
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 11:14 AM

OK-- the instrumentals I tried included "Somebody Stole My Gal," "Muskrat Ramble," "Up a Lazy River" and "Sweet Georgia Brown." Swing songs I sang included "All of Me," "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" Ballads included "Stardust," "Prisoner of Love" (a nurse said "Even I remember that one..."), "Those Far Away Places" and a request of "Misty" which surprised me. A big bald guy with a walker asked me to play "Baby Face," and I did. Five minutes later he came up and asked me to play "Baby Face." OK... Two couples danced (or mutually leaned on each other) to "Makin' Whoppee," which I considered wishful thinking. Finished up with rousing renditions of "Buttons and Bows" and a crowd-pleasing "Anything Goes." Nothing ground-breaking in all this, but they tapped their toes to the honky tonk and sang or mumbled along to any WWII era tunes. Others on these threads have cautioned performers to slow down if they want oldsters to sing along, and I found this to be true.


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: Genie
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 07:48 PM

Sounds like you had a great 'maiden voyage,' Gern. And having people request a song you've just finished playing is also par for the course. (Many seniors have no cognitive impairment except for short-term memory lapses.)

You seem to have a good sense of what songs will go over well, and all of the songs you listed (including "Misty"*) are ones for which I often get requests from retirement and nursing home residents.

Genie

*Wasn't "Misty" written in the '40s or '50s, BTW?


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 09:50 PM

Well good for you, Gern! The songs you chose sound fine, and I'm not suprised that you walked out feeling that you wre given much more than you gave.

I had a beautiful experience once, that I'd wish on everyone. I went to play at a nursing home where I'd played many times before (and since.) When I got set up.. no sound system, as it was a small room, I played one song and when I finished, someone asked me if I knew an old turn-of the century popular song (which I didn't and have long since forgotten the title.) Someone else said that they knew it, and a couple other people said that they did, too. So, I encouraged them to sing the song, which they did. When they were done, someone said, "does anybody know... and it was another old popular song I'd never heard.) And someone said they did, and proceeded to sing it. People who hadn't volunteered that they knew the song knew parts of it... maybe just the chorus. But, many of the people were singing along, and there was an increasing air of excitement. And on they went, thinking of old songs that they loved (none of which I0-d ever heard of, and I know most of the turn of the century and teens and twenties songs, at least by title. After about 45 minutes, when I hadn't played another song, I quietly packed up my guitar and said goodbye, between songs. They all looked so excited and happy that I left feeling about as fine as anyone could feel. As I was walking down the hallway, I could hear someone starting God Bless America.

But, all was not well. I met Nurse Ratchet coming down the hall and she was very upset. She started apologizing profusely for the rudeness of her patients, not letting me sing. I asked her if she realized what a beautiful thing was happening... that they'd discovered that they could get together to sing and entertain themselves. Of course, she didn't. There was nothing in the rules and regulations that allowed such a thing.

That afternoon, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. As a matter of fact, a whole flock flew over... :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: Genie
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 11:48 PM

What a wonderful story, Jerry!

That's the kind of session where you know you've really done your job well (despite what Nurse Ratched says)!

Genie


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: Ferrara
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 12:23 PM

Jerry, what a GREAT story! Makes me happy.

And Gargoyle, what a great suggestion about "going to the schools and children." I like it.

Rita Ferrara


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: Art Thieme
Date: 03 Oct 02 - 01:56 PM

Geri,

That's cool as cool can be ! Just great.

When I was gigging around, it was common for these "jobs" to pay something----but I never charged for them----or for playing at mental health wards in our local hospital. My pay came from the times it went well. When it didn't go well, that was o.k. too. And gigs have way of generating more gigs.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Oct 02 - 11:49 PM


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: GUEST,Gern
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 10:40 AM

A word of caution, though, for all ye who enter here. Following this happy launching of my nursing home tour, I went home and was sick for two weeks. I coughed and clammed and fought a fever until hell wouldn't have me. It reminded me of my days student teaching: all those little germ factories you teach, unleashing contagions that caught the teacher off-guard. I otherwise never get sick, so I'm quite sure this was something I picked up from the home. Be meticulous about washing your hands immediately after your gig. Even if you don't touch any in your audience (and plenty will seek some kind of contact,) you will touch their doorknobs, piano keys, etc., or breathe their air. Lots of stuff incubating in this environment. Don't let this deter you, though; just be careful.


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Subject: RE: My Nursing Home Gig
From: 53
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 10:48 AM

Gargoyle, why don't you go to the schools and play?


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