May 20, 2022
by Angie Mack CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
I grew up with an older sister who had a physical and intellectual disability that required 24-hour nursing care. She needed to live in a facility that was about an hour away from our home so I only saw her on occasion. She was both nonverbal as well as nonphysical. The seeds of compassion for people residing in care facilities were instilled in me at a very young age. I instinctively coped with this loss through music.
Before I had my first child, I became a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) through MATC in Madison. I was primarily stationed to the area of a facility that housed patients with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease and Mental Illness. I found that I was able to connect well with the residents and was asked to assist in the Activities Department.
One of our weekly activities was to have mass made available to the residents on Fridays. Many looked forward to this occasion and even had their hair and nails done for the event. We had an issue with priests cancelling mass at the last minute. In order to satisfy the residents, I was asked to deliver an impromptu spiritual message accompanied by group singing. There was an old piano in the corner of the cafeteria where we met. Thankfully, I was good at improvising as well as singing and playing the piano.
A friend from church later joined me and we took our uplifting message and music to various facilities throughout the greater Madison area. We had between 5 and 10 bookings per month.
My pastor, at the time, took notice of my talents and asked if I would play piano and sing for their Sunday services. The church had a house on their property set aside for people who needed minimal living assistance. Next, I became the Administrator of their State-Licensed Class B Community-Based Residential Facility.
Fast forward a few decades. Rob Kos of Gathering on the Green also noticed this “gift” of mine and hired me a few years ago to do music sessions with the special needs adults at Balance, Inc., Homestead High School Transitional Students and Portal, Inc. Words cannot describe how enriching this experience has been!
Last night was the 30th Anniversary celebration Gala for Balance, Inc. at Shully’s in Thiensville. It was an honor to collaborate on a music video that was a focal point of the evening fundraiser. More than $140k was raised to help pay off mortgages for adults with special needs. In this video, I am singing, playing piano and wrote the storyboard. It is highly inspiring. Check it out:
The pandemic and all of the issues that it has spawned has made me deeply concerned for families, children and mankind. A major reason why we are in a mental health crisis is due to the nastiness of people. People are stressed. And people have been nasty. Pure and simple.
I decided that I would like to spend the rest of 2022 trying to bring people together through drumming. It’s an all-inclusive musical activity that has healing properties according countless studies. Humanity needs to heal. How do we heal? Through each other.
The drum circles are primarily intended for:
- senior living, special needs and residential facilities
- community events
- in parks and public spaces