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Music at the VNA

Author: Church Hindes, President and CEO of the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties

I was asked to share a few words prior to the Green Mountain Mahler Festival’s New Year’s Day performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – recognizable to most of us as the “Ode to Joy” symphony.  The  second annual celebratory concert again benefited our VNA.  

I pondered…how to connect music and our agency? 

Well, beginning with our littlest, music plays a part in the programs of our Parent-Child Center, the VNA Family Room.  There you will hear frequent choruses of “The Wheels on the Bus”, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Ring Around the Rosie.” 

While caring for grown-ups in their homes, our staff hears the world rhythms of our new refugee families, the pounding rhythms enjoyed by some of our younger clients as well as classics from the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s in other homes.

The sounds of drumming are heard weekly in our Adult Day Program—following established good practice integrating music into the care for frail elders, especially those with memory problems. 

Drumming also is a key element of Camp Knock Knock, our annual family bereavement camp,  with yearly participatory performances by the Taiko Drummers—encouraging bereaved youngsters to use their muscles to help pound away some of their hurt. 

Finally, there is our newest musical connection. Singing their “lullabies for the dying”, the 45 members of our Noyana Singers hospice choir share the well-documented benefits of music at the time of life’s great transitions.  As a hospice patient once shared with me, “I’ll recognize the angels when I meet them because I have already heard their voices.” 

In its own way, our VNA has been making music for seven generations of our communities.  A special thanks to the Green Mountain Mahler Festival for including the VNA in their splendid prequel to the New Year! 

Happy 2012!

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