By Leah Fein
Music is a shared language, the sounds often allowing for complex sharing of emotions and experiences.
The piece begins with sounds of anticipation, moves to excitement and stress, and ends in feelings of relief. With the help of musicians from the Curtis Institute of Music, Penn Memory Center (PMC) community members translated their emotions of moving into music.
“Moving House” was the first musical piece played during the final concert featuring participants from the Creative Expression Through Music Program on May 5. All participants of this program are PMC community members experiencing memory change, mild cognitive impairment, or early-stage dementia. During seven classes, the PMC community members worked with Curtis students to create music played during the concert.
“This piece is meant to represent the gamut of emotions that we experience when we have to move,” composer Nick DiBerardino told the audience. While there are times of stress, DiBerardino also highlights a “sense of relief as we can finally call this new place we moved to home.”
The stories were well-known to many people living with memory changes, cognitive impairment, or dementia.
“We take a holistic approach to our work,” PMC executive director Felicia Greenfield told the audience. “We have a robust social work team who is available to help families make sense of what might be going on and provide a little bit of emotional support and education.
“We think about programming that is creative and supportive and helps people manage with the best quality of life possible, and that’s part of what this program does,” Greenfield said.