December 23, 2021 // 9:02 AM

The Power of Being Together

Written by Juanita Fox

In the weeks leading up to Wednesday, December 8, Laura Gribble, music therapist for Garden Spot Village, diligently helped residents living at Meadow View Memory Support, prepare for their first Christmas program.

A quartet of women prepared songs. A song leader created a list of songs to sing as a group. Team members practiced solos. Residents rehearsed stories and read poems.
Invitations were sent and staff and residents looked forward a festive evening.

On the evening of the program, the performances were incredible. Laughter and tears mingled, as Meadow View marked a “first” for the community.

Melody Karick, director of Meadow View, says, “For me, this event was the first sense of normal again. It was such a wonderful opportunity to create a space for celebrating with the residents.
“We had so many lost opportunities in the last two years,” she continues. “To me, this was our moment when we began to find ways to live again.”

Laura says Mark Hickson, chaplain for Meadow View, had the vision for the event. “It was Mark’s prompting,” Laura explains. “I took some of his ideas and initial thoughts. I gathered a group of four women and rehearsed with them. I added some group singing, so it would be participatory. It grew into more and more.”

“It was really a group effort. What inspired me to do this, was seeing the residents flourish. To see them share their strengths and also their courage to perform and read.”

“For me, it was process vs product. The process of it was really what we were going for—the rehearsing, the preparing. We knew the product would be good, regardless. In the end, it turned out to be a wonderful program. We knew, and the residents involved knew, that they had done something bigger than themselves as they worked together.”

As a music therapist for skilled nursing, memory support and personal care at Garden Spot Village, Laura uses music to help people reach their goals. Most times, the goals are not musical.

Instead, Laura says, “I use music to encourage social interaction, movement, cognitive planning and to empower residents with the strengths that they already have to work on goals or places of growth.”

This Christmas, the musical goals resulted in the opportunity to rejoice in community for staff and residents at Meadow View.