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FOUND AN AUDIENCE Vivian Wu, a junior at The Awty International School, created a club for student musicians to play at senior homes and hospitals. Pictured at Texas Children’s Hospital are (standing, from left) Marcella Stones, Renee Neufer, Karen Martinez, Vivian, Meera Vashisht, Didi Zhou, Rick Huang, Jean-Luc Shimizu, (sitting, from left) Nicole Dunkel and Sarah Laskin.
As a cellist, I have experienced the upsides and downsides of a competitive atmosphere, from region auditions in the fall to state auditions in the spring. I decided to create Power of Music, a club to give musicians an opportunity to play for fun and showcase their talents at senior homes and hospitals.
After recruiting over 20 musicians and vocalists, I contacted senior homes and hospitals. It was challenging at first to acquire gigs. The first performance had a turnout of five people, with one man sleeping the whole time. It was quite discouraging. The lifestyle coordinator assured me that we had come during the seniors’ naptime, but I told myself that, in the future, our performance would entertain to the point where seniors would come out of their rooms to listen.
Our next performance at Texas Children’s Hospital also had a low turnout, but it taught me an important lesson. A young boy danced to our Christmas tunes and requested us to play his favorite song, “Uptown Funk.” At that moment, I saw my hopes come to life. Christmas was an especially hard time for patients, and we could see how much our visit meant to this little boy. I promised myself that even if it was just one person who came to see us, it did not matter as long as our visit meant something.
I knew I needed to motivate club members, so I made posters and programs to distribute and created a website to feature our performance videos. At the next performance, we had a full house! When our vocalist began to sing “You Are My Sunshine,” all the seniors began to sing along. Those who had physical or mental difficulties still swayed and felt the beauty of the music. By the end of the song, we were all brought to tears.
We continued to perform during Sunday “naptimes,” but now caretakers were wheeling seniors out of their rooms to follow the sound of music. Power of Music has spread the joy. See houstonpowerofmusic.org.
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