BENNINGTON -- Bennington College and the Southwestern Vermont Health Care's Centers for Living and Rehabilitation have teamed up to bring music from the students to the residents.
Photo above: Bennington College music professor Michael Wimberly leads a drum circle involving his students and residents of the SVMC Centers for Living and Rehabilitation. (Derek Carson)
Cynthia Ellison, activities director for The Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, said that Bennington College music professor Michael Wimberly and his class first visited Southwestern Vermont Medical Center on Oct. 8, will continue to perform for the residents every Wednesday until the end of the semester, and will hopefully begin again in the spring with a new group of students. Wimberly and his eight students sat in a circle with residents who suffer from dementia (although all residents of the center were welcome), and played traditional African and Native American songs, as well as more modern music, such as Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" and Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va."
The group, who even took requests, playing "You Are My Sunshine," for a resident, played on a variety of different instruments, including drums, a bala (a West African xylophone), a flute, and a trumpet. The group focused primarily on getting the residents involved in the event, even passing out shakers to those who wanted to use participate. In between songs, Wimberly kept his audience engaged through constant interaction, from explanations of the histories of the songs, to questions about their favorite music, to jokes.
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Source: The Bennington Banner