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Posts Tagged ‘music’

Last Thursday night I was treated to The Russian National Ballet Theatre’s Giselle. Performed on the large stage of the Lycian Centre in Sugar Loaf, the story of the ballet is set in a Rhineland Village and tells of a peasant girl, Giselle, who falls in love with a Count and of a hunter who is crazy for her. The magic of the perfect unison and flawless technique of the Corps de Ballet was a considerable match for the excellent Giselle, performed by Ekaterina Egorova, who literally flew through the air and across the stage with the grace of a Giselle. The young ballerinas in the audience were transfixed as were we all. The costumes were to die for.

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I know I’m a little late with my update on the Ben Kweller show (Thanksgiving festivities intervened), but it was fantastic! As usual, the Bearsville was brimming with a welcoming energy that seems unique to this Hudson Valley venue. The opening performer, Julia Nunes, was a pleasant surprise. I hadn’t heard any of her music before this show and wow, what a powerful voice on that girl! She was funny, told great stories before her songs, and her lyrics were just so authentic. I looked her up after the show and couldn’t stop singing her music. My favorite song that she performed was her cover of “Build me up Buttercup.” Brilliant.

As for Ben? He was on point! My father and I really like him, but we were never able to see him live until now. He put on a great energetic show. He played both the guitar and piano during his set and was very personable. He even took requests from the crowd and performed a beautiful rendition of  “Heart of Gold.” I hope to see another Ben show soon. I’ll leave you with some pictures of the show.

Ben doing his thing.

 

The crowd couldn't stay in their chairs.

Just a few of the stunning photos aligning the walls.

I love this giant guitar!

Now get up to the theater and have your own music experience! It is well worth a trip up to Woodstock.

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The Hudson Valley is alive with the sound of music. There are plenty of small and large music venues to scope out in the Valley. One such music haven that’s worth a visit is the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock. I’m attending the Ben Kweller show tomorrow and I’m anticipating a fun time.

This will not be my first trip to the Bearsville Theater, I went this past summer with my brother and father to see Jackie Greene. I’ve been a fan of Jackie’s for many years, but was never able to see him live due to the dreaded “sold out” sign posted at his venues. But then, a beacon of hope! He was playing at the Bearsville Theater and I finally got to see him live. Jackie rocked it that night and I fell in love with this stunning and rustic theater. 

The property boasts two restaurants, The Little Bear and the  Bear Café, and the offices of WDST and Radio Woodstock. The inside of the theater is filled with pictures of legendary musicians like The Band and they line the walls like an art gallery. I can’t wait to see the show tomorrow, grab a drink, and enjoy the music. I know I’ll feel right at home.

We have events at the theater up on our calendar page. See a show at this must stop for local music lovers and come back next week for my review of the concert.

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by Judith Muir

A remarkable new music program is benefiting children and adults with autism in Dutchess County, NY. Called the Music for Life Program, it gets participants to sing with seniors at Green Briar Adult Home in Millbrook, providing therapeutic as well as musical benefits for both participants and the residents of the home.

The program is run by Peter Muir Ph.D., Director of  the Institute for Music and Health in Verbank, a music center which pioneers this kind of therapeutic approach to music-making. The music outreaches are not like a regular concert performance, but are very informal, with participants and residents closely interacting through the music, often one-on-one. Because of this, the program, which has been running since January 2004, was at first controversial. “People kept telling me that it just wasn’t possible for those with autism to interact as closely as this kind of program requires,” says Dr. Muir. “However, what they hadn’t figured on was that music-making, particularly in the way we approach it, helps those with communication challenges feel safe and far more ready to communicate and socialize than in normal day-to-day situations.”

And, indeed, that is what happens. Donna Zuckermann, mother of program participant Dan, a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome, believes that the program is the only time her son interacts with people he doesn’t know well. “It just seems so easy for him in that situation,” she says. Another participant is eight-year-old Niklas Watkins who suffers from Fragile X Syndrome, a leading cause of autism. His mother Amy is impressed with his response to the music outreaches: “they allow him to push past social and environmental issues of presenting in public,” she says.

The program is popular with the participants. “I learn lots of interesting songs,” says Michael Beck, 15, who also has Asperger’s, and his father Tom adds: “Michael has a wonderful time. He always looks forward to singing with the seniors.” And just as the participants like singing with the seniors, the seniors love the music and the interaction. “Our residents love the Music for Life Programs,” says Ellen Riccardi, activities director at Green Briar, “it helps stimulate them and encourages them to be active.” Course participant Dan Zuckermann agrees: “It makes them happier. Any time we go, they’re singing along and eager to get up and dance.”

The Music for Life approach is based on the work of John Diamond M.D. Dr. Diamond, a pioneer in the field of holistic medicine, is the world’s leading authority in using music and health modality. Program director Peter Muir has been associated with Dr. Diamond’s work for sixteen years. “It is unique,” he says. “Dr. Diamond has developed a whole new approach with music that is easily accessible for those with special needs and has tremendous benefits for all concerned. And what’s more it’s for everyone. You don’t need to be an experienced or skillful singer to take part. I feel privileged to be among the first implementing this new approach.”

One of the most exciting aspects of the Music for Life Program is that the benefits are not just musical. Indeed, the idea is that the ease of social contact facilitated by the music-making can be generalized into regular communication. This in turn can lead to a marked lessening of the autism. For instance, program participant Kevin Leonard has improved remarkably as a result of the music-making, according to his father Peter, a professor at Vassar College. “Since doing the Music for Life Program, he has become a happier person. He talks more–and eats less!”

The program is currently jointly funded by Autism Directory Services and the Life Energy Foundation. This funding has meant the financial burden to the participants has been minimized. Institute for Music and Health, which is running the program till mid-June, plans to restart it in the fall on an expanded basis.

For more information on Music for Life Programs, check out the website at
www.musichealth.net. Do you know someone who might like to join the program? If so, contact the program director Dr. Peter Muir on (845) 677-5871.

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