Mile High Living (Denver7) recently interviewed Executive Director Elizabeth McGuire about the Center for Musical Arts’ LifeSong Chorus. The LifeSong Chorus was designed for people with early onset Alzheimer’s and other dementias, along with their caregivers, and is supported by a grant from the NextFifty Initiative.
Watch the full interview or read the transcript below.
Mile High Living: Over the years, research has shown that music and musical instruction provides significant benefits and enhanced learning abilities for people of any age, and at the Center for Musical Arts, they connect community members by providing access to music. To tell us more is Executive Director Elizabeth McGuire. Liz, thanks for being with us.
Elizabeth McGuire: Thank you for having me.
Mile High Living: Absolutely. Let’s talk about the Center for Musical Arts and really what you guys do.
Elizabeth McGuire: So generally we’re a community music school. We’re located in Lafayette, Colorado, and we really serve all ages and ability levels. So we have private lessons. You can take a piano lesson, you can play the hammered dulcimer. We have a large spectrum of instruments available. We have classes and ensembles, jazz, musical theater, concert band, and we even have programs for toddlers and their caregivers.
Mile High Living: Oh my gosh.
Elizabeth McGuire: Yeah.
Mile High Living: That’s got to be cute as all get out. Let’s talk about LifeSong Chorus, and really who it’s designed for.
Elizabeth McGuire: So this program is new, and it’s designed for early onset Alzheimer’s patients and those suffering from dementia, and their caregivers.
Mile High Living: Okay. So with that said, someone with Alzheimer’s, let’s say, wants to join this program. Talk about the benefits that it provides to them.
Elizabeth McGuire: Well, music inherently provides a lot of benefits for all of us, but for this group in particular, we have a board certified neurologic music therapist. We’re partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association. And the benefits to that particular population are incredible. Anything from reduction of anxiety, depression, to bonding better with their caregivers and others, and just creating a general boost to their quality of life.
Mile High Living: And just that increase in communication I can only imagine it plays such an integral part. What else do you want us to know about this program?
Elizabeth McGuire: Well, just the cognitive impact for people that have this diagnosis. This is really incredible. There’s great science behind it. So we think it’s critically important to get as many people involved as possible. And thankfully the NextFifty Initiative has funded us so that we can offer this for $25 for participants. So, I mean, that’s really an incredible deal. The programs are going to happen at our music center on Tuesdays from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM. And even if that $25 is a barrier, we would still offer tuition assistance just because we think it’s incredibly important to serve this population. Thanks to the NextFifty.
Mile High Living: I was just going to say, what a wonderful discount. Because I’m assuming something like that would be much more expensive otherwise, correct?
Elizabeth McGuire: It is. Yeah. We have people that are leading the ensemble and we have music therapists, and so there’s quite a lot of structure behind it that we need to pay for. But the NextFifty Initiative is absolutely an incredible generous grant and we can do it because of them.
Mile High Living: That sounds wonderful. This is a program that… I’m so interested in how it came to be if you don’t mind, because it’s one of those things where a lot of people may not realize what a perfect resource that is for those going through Alzheimer’s.
Elizabeth McGuire: Yeah. Well we have an education director, and our music therapists on staff have been in communication about serving this population. We have done some things in the past on a smaller scale and because of COVID, some of those things stalled out, but when we came back after COVID, we thought we really want to focus on this. And then we found that that grant from NextFifty Initiative was available. We applied for it, we received it. And so when there’s money, there’s always the will and there’s always the expertise on our staff to take care of it. So we’re just excited and we’re bringing back some of our partners that we worked with prior to COVID from the Alzheimer’s Association.
Mile High Living: Again, you say where there’s a will, of course, that you find the way.
Elizabeth McGuire: Absolutely.
Mile High Living: And especially if those funds are there and you are blessed to get them, even more so. But after COVID to keep that focus, what a wonderful blessing for all those people that are being able to now be the beneficiaries of that. How can our audience help really move you guys forward or donate?
Elizabeth McGuire: I would say get the word out. And then of course, any donations are welcome. You can reach us at centerformusicalarts.org.
Mile High Living: That’s wonderful.
Elizabeth McGuire: Yeah.
Mile High Living: Super simple and super easy. Elizabeth, we appreciate you being here for this wonderful program. Thank you so much.
Elizabeth McGuire: Thank you.