Her Story, Her Song partnered with Good Shepherd Community as its community partner for the annual concert.
Women’s Choir members led by conductor and faculty member Mary Jo Bot visited the facility each Friday last spring to sing with residents and help them reawaken memories. Music therapy students led by faculty member Peter Meyer also visited the center and sang with Good Shepherd residents and clients while also learning about the therapeutic benefits of music.
Good Shepherd Community named the collaboration “Her Story, Her Song: An Intergenerational Music Project.” The project was part of the organization’s efforts to enrich the lives of its residents through musical engagement.
Prior to beginning their visits to Good Shepherd, the students completed “Dementia Friends” training to give them the skills necessary to have successful interactions with memory care residents. The students spent three months holding weekly rehearsals with the memory care residents. As each week passed, the memory residents became more engaged in the program and stayed longer at rehearsals.
“In my 15-year history of ‘Her Story, Her Song’ concerts, this partnership and collaboration was one of the most transformative for my students,” Bot said.
The choir’s April Her Story, Her Song concert featured both the St. Cloud State Women’s Choir and the Cantabile Girls’ Choir focused on exploring the connection between memory and other key aspects of life and issues from the feminine perspective using verse and song.
Clients from Good Shepherd joined the choir in performing a few of the songs they sang together in therapy during the concert.
“The Quality Award recognizes progressive and exceptional initiatives that result in meaningful impacts to aging Minnesotans,” said Gayle Kvenvold, LeadingAge Minnesota president and CEO. “Through its Her Story, Her Song project, Good Shepherd used intergenerational learning to explore the issues surrounding memory loss and the positive effects of music on those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”
This year’s Her Story, Her Song concert is April 25 in Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Cloud. For this year’s concert, Her Story, Her Song is partnering with the African Women’s Alliance, which is committed to fulfilling a vision of an inclusive, safe, welcoming community where African women feel at home and have the support and opportunities needed to thrive and succeed.