Music and Memory-Muncie works with alzheimer's and dementia nursing home residents in hopes to help them remember who they are through means of music. Ruth Pierce, one of the beneficiaries of the program, enjoys listening to Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and big band music. PHOTO PROVIDED BY TYLER SPARKMAN
Music & Memory-Muncie helps nursing home residents
On Sunday afternoons, Lindsey LaFleche, treasurer of Muncie's Music & Memory, spends her time volunteering at Muncie nursing homes.
Music & Memory works with nursing home residents who have Alzheimer's and dementia in hopes to help them remember who they are through means of music. The organization will host its second annual A Night to Remember variety show to raise money for the music therapy. Last year the money went to The Woodlands, a Muncie nursing home.
LaFleche often spends time with one resident named Ruth Pierce, who enjoys listening to Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and big band music.
A Night to Remember
When: 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 19
Where: Pruis Hall
Cost: Tickets are $3 and available at the door. The event is open to the public.
“When we listen to music we hold hands, tap our toes, swing our arms and sing along," LaFleche said. "Ruth's eyes light up every time we see her and always looks forward to listening to music with us."
Their relationship is more than a volunteer experience. LaFleche and Pierce greet each other with hugs, kisses and exchanges of “I love you.”
Pierce’s children, who spoke with LaFleche at the nursing home, expressed their gratitude for the work Music & Memory has invested into the nursing home.
“They said they can tell we bring Ruth a lot of joy, and they are grateful we show Ruth so much love and compassion,” LaFleche said.
As a result of the program's success so far, the organization's next goal is to reach out to more residents at another nursing home in Muncie.
The funds raised from A Night to Remember will go toward equipment, such as computers, iPods and headphones. Using suggestions from family members and the residents themselves, the organization makes a playlist of familiar songs for each resident that the organization works with.
The president of Music and Memory in Muncie, Tyler Sparkman, estimates the total costs for the equipment will be between $1,000 and $2,000.
For Wednesday's event, 13 different student acts, including Ball State alumnus and comedian Mikey Mason, will perform.
“Last year we had about 300 attend, and we raised a little over $1,600. This year we are pushing $2,000," Sparkman said. "Throughout the show we are going to try and tell people where we are at with money to encourage people to keep donating."
This year Music & Memory in Muncie earned $1,800 by reaching out to businesses to sponsor the event, and will give out raffle prizes, including a pair of Dr. Dre Beats headphones, tickets to see the David Letterman Show, a David Letterman jacket and various restaurant gift cards.
“This year is a lot different; we are revamping the show," Sparkman said. "We didn’t have any of this last year. We didn’t have any of this free stuff. We had raffle prizes but not to this extent."
Abby Urbik, vice president of the group, is excited for the whole show.
“It's going to be a fabulous show, and I'm really pumped to see every act perform," Urbik said. "And there might even be a little surprise at the beginning of the show that I'm stoked to see the audience's reaction."
As the show progresses, the group will live-tweet and encourage the audience members to tweet their favorite parts of the show with the potential to win a prize.
“We would love to be as big one day as Ball State’s Dance Marathon," Sparkman said. "We’re doing two completely different causes; however, we would still love to be as big as them one day."