My mother and I have always been close. I never had sisters, so she was my confidante, my cheerleader and my girlfriend. We shared the same love of books and word puzzles, cheesy romantic comedies, long gabfests, live music and dancing, and musical theater. I could call her anytime, day or night, ask her if she wanted to go to the movies, have coffee or pizza, and go to the beach, and she would never refuse me. Ah, the good old days.
Growing up in an apartment in East Boston, my mom and her five siblings might not have had a lot of amenities, but they still had music and laughs. In addition to stretching a protein to feed seven mouths, my grandmother was also a master of absurd songs, singing them around the house. Not all of her kids enjoyed the show, but my mom liked silly songs like “Mairzy Doats”. My Aunt Peggy might have rolled her eyes, but my mother absorbed every word and note of the tunes.
Over 70 years later, my mother is now living with Alzheimer’s disease. Our interactions are very different from those before Alzheimer’s disease in that she no longer remembers what she reads, is no longer able to concentrate on a movie or hold a movie. long conversation. Her sense of humor is always keen, and the music is always the trigger that brings back the silly song from the singing mother that I knew. She might not be able to tell me what she just ate for dinner, but my mom can sing all the absurd words in “Mairzy Doats”. I start singing “Mairzy doats and dozy doats”, and she responds, “and liddle lamzy divey, a kiddley divey too, right? It’s like magic. With music, my mother can succeed. She takes a road trip down memory lane, while I sit and enjoy the view from the passenger seat.
I am not the only person who has experienced the magic of music on the aging brain. As her father led his very public six-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease, the daughter of Glen Campbell, singer-songwriter Ashley Campbell saw with her own eyes how “Music was the thing that could bring back when the fog attracted him just a little. further. ”In fact, his first single“ Remembering, ”a tribute to his father, with a haunting line for those of us with Alzheimer’s disease,“ Daddy, don’t worry. I will. the memory “, was a hit on the country charts. The song is so moving I still can’t listen to it without crying.
On October 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., the South Shore Conservatory is honored to present Luncheon with Ashley Campbell. Ashley will perform some of her and her father’s hit songs and share her personal story of her legendary father’s journey with Alzheimer’s disease and the positive impact music has on his family during a difficult time. Joy Allen, renowned director of music therapy and the Music and Health Institute at Berklee College, joins Ashley and examines the role that creative arts therapies play for all of us as we emerge from the pandemic. This fundraising event supports SSC’s Creative Art Therapy programs, which use the arts and creative processes to help individuals maximize their abilities and improve their health and well-being.
Learn more about Breakfast with Ashley Campbell or purchase tickets by October 18 at https://bit.ly/3AdQ5Mi. Places for this event are limited.
South Shore Conservatory communications director Elaine Sorrentino can’t wait to learn more ways to keep her mother happy.