Anthony Hyatt, Songs of Our Lives

The Support Center – Rockville, MD

After we all sang “Auld Lang Syne,” I played “What Are You Doing On New Year’s Eve?”  One gentleman came up to join me in singing.  It turned out that he has a beautiful voice.  I thanked him and he replied, “I’ll bring it next time!”


Joan Hampton Fraser, Creative Writing

Lewinsville Adult Day Health Care Center – McLean, VA

Today John’s writing was filled with personal meaning.  He had a recent fall and he wanted to talk about it.  He used imagery from the reading for the day to access the turmoil and losses he has been experiencing and he identified his family as a source of strength.  He laughed easily with tears in his eyes when one group member offered that perhaps “bump on the head” had helped him open up.  The group rallied around him, offering him support and understanding.  The conversations between group members began to flow. It was a beautiful and poignant moment.

Peter Burroughs, CoOPERAtion

Long Branch Community Center – Silver Spring, MD

The group took quickly to the idea of telling the story from “Carmen”.  Fernando played Escamillo and Maria played Carmen.  Other participants sang, danced and marched to music from the opera.  Maria played castanets, improvising as the story was told, and Fernando used the cape to help create his character.


Carol Siegel, Expressive Arts

Alexandria Adult Day Services Center – Alexandria, VA

In our session we made old fashioned Valentines. One woman was fairly new to the group and had been recently widowed. She hadn’t shared her feelings with the others. When we made the Valentines, she cut one heart in half and glued it onto a whole heart, staing “This is my heart that  has been broken”.  It was a breakthrough for her in sharing her loss with the group.

Marcie Wolf Hubbard, The Shape of Things

The Kensington Club – Rockville, MD

One participant was very excited about a postcard with an image of a Native American.  She shared with the group that it reminded her of her career with the Department of Health and Human Services.  She talked about the Native American children and how they needed the support and recalled how she convinced her office that it was necessary to provide assistance to them.  We all learned something new about a member of our group that day.


Nancy Havlik, Quicksilver

Chevy Chase Community Center – Washington, D.C.

Teaching Artist Anthony Hyatt played “Tennessee Waltz” in honor of Patti Page who passed away this week.  The group developed a beautiful dance in tribute by using the improvisation skills we’d worked on.  It happened like magic.  All of a sudden a story of tribute appeared with Dancer Dorothy Levy leaving the stage as the song ended.

Miles Spicer,  Dance and Blues

Downtown Clusters Geriatric Day Care – Washington, D.C.

This session was special.   Teaching Artist Nancy Havlik and I agreed to work around a couple of songs by Thomas Fats Waller.  I played “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.”   Nancy encouraged group member Howard to play some piano for us.  He played “Amazing Grace” with me.  Nancy got the group into a movement exercise, but one of our female participants started in with “Glory, Glory, When I Lay My Burden Down.” This spiritual has a heavy call and response part.  All the seniors joined in.   Nancy and I traded glances and we silently agreed to let them lead us.  I played along on guitar.   The group followed with “Wade in the Water” and soon it was time to go.    We walked around the circle shaking hands and thanking our seniors.  They were still singing.    They were still singing as we walked out, all smiles.  In the years that we have been working with this group we have never been serenaded as the program ended.