Therapy Thumpers emerged from their white Granite Mesa Health Center buses dressed in glowing neon wigs, their iconic t-shirts, fake tattoo arms and Christmas hats. They grabbed a walker or wheelchair and headed to the Marble Falls Seniors Activity Center, where they hosted lunchtime at a Halloween party on October 29. The mashup costumes were all part of the fun.
“They worked for weeks on their Christmas carols and then the senior center wanted us to come over for Halloween,” said Lori Anderson, physiotherapist at Granite Mesa. “We didn’t have any Halloween songs so we decided to dress like Halloween and mix up a little Christmas.”
The Therapy Thumpers are residents of the Granite Mesa Health Center, 1401 Max Copeland Drive in Marble Falls, who used percussion instruments to form a circle of drums. The group of about 12 women sit in a circle, each with a colorful physiotherapy ball perched on a white plastic paint can. They wear identical aprons over Therapy Thumpers T-shirts and clasp wooden chopsticks in their hands, resting on the balls, ready to rock.
Granite Mesa physiotherapists act as roadies and back-up drummers. The Thumpers themselves invent their own choreography.
The result is entertaining, fun, and physically and mentally invigorating for the Thumpers.
“It helps us express our frustrations,” said Amy Duncan, 85. “Just watch me drumming.” ”
They drum to the rhythm of recorded songs played on a small smart speaker. They alternate between drums on the front, top and sides of the balls, and even on the buckets, all in sync with the music and with each other. At “sticks in the air”, they click them together above their heads, then move from left to right and vice versa. The sound brings visions of reindeer stomping on the roof.
It’s good exercise and fun, said member Sue Taylor, 72.
“I’m involved because I like to have some kind of activity, and when they said we could drum, I started right away,” she said. “I’ve been there from the start.
The start was in March of this year when Anderson, the physiotherapist, got together with the occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists at the center to set up the drum course. She came up with the idea for an exercise class similar to Hill Country Nutrition in Marble Falls.
“We were isolated for so long because of COVID that when they said we could have small groups again, we did,” Anderson said. “We could only have 10 people in a room, so we could be six feet apart. We had three therapists who needed to be there, so we started small. “
They divided the residents into three skill levels. The drummers have come so far that the lower level no longer exists.
“We were successful right away because they could keep up with the beat,” Anderson said. “What’s really cool is that no one is ever wrong, whether you go slow or fast, that’s right. It’s empowering.
The Therapy Thumpers put on a good show with their neon wigs and brightly colored balls, which, for one act, they pick up and hold over their heads to pump through the air as the speaker calls out “You are all. ready for it? ”
“They went from their own simple rhythms to choreographic routines,” Anderson continued. “It’s huge. I never thought we would be on stage.
The gigs came after the band performed for the marketing director. Right away she saw the potential and called the Marble Falls Senior Activity Center. They were a hit when they first performed in early October and were back by popular demand for the Halloween party. The number of participants increased as did the call for more groups at Granite Mesa.
“We started a lot of other bands because of it, because they love it so much,” Anderson said. “Now we do crafts, knitting, cooking. We wanted to slow this one down, but they like it so much we can’t. ”