The Healing Power of Music

Strings and Keys 2Volunteer Performer: Michael Schwartz and Charlie Channel

Facility Name & City: San Carlos Adult Services

Facility Type: Adult Day Care

Date:  3/16/15

Volunteer Host: Steve Pickford

 Essence Story by Steve Pickford: 

These are two very skilled jazz musicians, with Mike on guitar and vocals, and Charlie on bass.   The audience eagerly awaited their performance.  Mike set the tone right away that this was going to be a relaxed and fun show.  They started with an upbeat swing tune, then immediately followed with a “Name That Tune” challenge.   After a playing a few bars of melody, a lady in the back shouted out “You Are My Sunshine”, at which point Mike led the whole group in a rousing sing-along.

 Their song selections were very clever.  Mike recounted a personal story that his daughter got married two years ago, and when it came time for Mike to make his speech as father of the bride, he didn’t know what to say, but he knew what he wanted to sing.  He then played and sang here what he did then, a moving interpretation of  “Falling in Love is Wonderful”.

These two were fearless in their repeated offer to take any requests.  Someone wanted “It’s Been a Long, Long Time”, which Mike and Charlie cheerfully tackled, having never played the song before.  This was followed by another “Name That Tune” challenge, which, after just a few notes, a gentleman shouted out “Fly Me To the Moon”.  That started a mini set of songs with “moon” in the title.  Someone in the back said “Moonlight Bay”.  Mike said he knew the song but not the lyrics.  But he quickly went into playing it and sang little fragments of the lyrics that he could sort of remember. After a few attempts at this, a Pacific Islander woman from the staff quietly walked up to the stage and started singing the song perfectly, augmented with a subtle, hula-like dance with gesturing hands.  One of her fellow staffers gleefully grabbed her smart phone to video this surprise performance from her colleague. 

 The audience was so engaged that Mike and Charlie ended up filling an hour with their interactive performance.  Nobody wanted it to end! The Bread and Roses mission of providing the healing power of music was ably accomplished this day.