Sean Caulfield, the ARTZ program director, opened the event by inviting the audience to introduce themselves and to talk about their own personal relationship to music. Many recalled that they had studied music or dance as children and all said they continued to love music.
We had chosen a series of short 2-3 minute dances from the 17th and 18th centuries. I arranged them so there was a tonal relation between them, alternating G major with g minor (adding one work in Bb major to the mix), and varying tempos. We ended with the 1st movement of the Mozart G major duo for violin and viola, and Ashokan Farewell as a fitting encore. The dance element was not lost on the audience, who happily swayed and moved their hands to the music.
The people at ARTZ are most familiar with this phenomenon, but it always touches me deeply. It is this: After our performance --and other arts interventions--the audience comes alive - the people there were more talkative, more engaged, more sociable after the performance. They are not "Patients with Alzheimer's" but music lovers in any audience who happen to be living with Alzheimer's. It is a powerful distinction.
I thought the attendees were particularly grateful for Christopher's performance, appreciating his youth, enthusiasm and energy. They engaged him in conversation for a long time following the performance!
As with other performances I have done for ARTZ, the experience has a personal connection. A member of my own family is living with Alzheimer's and attended--one could see that the music brought back strong musical memories that brought joy.