The Art Cart Performs

Directed by: JoAnne Spies

Singer, songwriter and Art Cart troubadour, JoAnne Spies transforms the words and stories of Berkshire Healthcare nursing home residents into song and performance.

Since 2001, I've brought music and paintings to six Berkshire Healthcare settings through the Community Access to the Arts Art Cart program. Visiting people one-on-on in their rooms with my rolling Art Cart,  I bring a picture for the wall and an original or old time favorite song.

I usually bring my guitar, six string ukelele, or tank drum, which is a recycled propane tank that plays meditative, healing sounds. We have written poems and songs together, and through Story Corps one year I recorded people's stories. I have also worked with HospiceCare in the Berkshires.

tank drum by Ithaca tank drum

tank drum by Ithaca tank drum

Here Fred and I sing, celebrating his 104th birthday.

At Kimball Farms in Lenox, MA and WIlliamstown Commons I work in the memory care unit. 

 

with resident at Pine Hill

with resident at Pine Hill

"Art Cart" at Hillcrest Commons with Jeanne Laurin Schnackenberg

"Art Cart" at Hillcrest Commons with Jeanne Laurin Schnackenberg

 

   Each line in this poem is from residents at Mount Greylock Extended Care

Poem for Spring

This weather’s not for me

I’ll take the spring and the music

The warmth, flowers bursting out, their beauty

I like the change,

The grass growing,

Seeing the notch on the thermometer go up

So much I like it’s hard to say

I love the mud, the spring peepers, 

The smell of the air, 

Green coming into the trees,

I saw a pure red cardinal

And a bunny with a fluffy tail

I like everything about spring

It’s when baseball season starts

Green grass

The birds coming back

The pussy willows

The spring flowers, daffodils. Their bright colors

The cicadas are coming back after 17 years

When the ground gets to 42 degrees they start talkin’.

                                                                ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Cueva de las Manos is a cave or a series of caves located in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, 163 km south of the town of Perito Moreno. It is famous for the paintings of hands. The art in the cave dates from 13,000 to 9,000 years ago.

Cueva de las Manos is a cave or a series of caves located in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, 163 km south of the town of Perito Moreno. It is famous for the paintings of hands. The art in the cave dates from 13,000 to 9,000 years ago.

Music Meets Medicine Conference

August 5th and 6th - 2017   Bridgeport, CT

"Story Songs: Using Poetry and Song to Build Community"

Here are notes from my presentation. Thank you to Lynn Miller, Lynn Saltiel and Music for People colleagues for a rewarding conference.

SHARE YOUR PASSION

 How might your interests/ art form meet the needs of the group?

 

SET UP YOUR CIRCLE

Greet and 'interview' each person in the circle if the size of the circle permits

Share names / simple gestures of each person

Begin with an icebreaker / group movement song

 

'HAND IN HAND' PROGRAM

 VISUAL IMAGES

  Look at paintings of hands: what objects might they hold? what work have they done? 

           what emotions do they convey?

   Rich stories can be told from residents' drawings of their own hands

 

  WARM-UPS AND GROUP ACTIVITIES

  Lead group in warm-up with 'air piano playing' to your favorite piano tune

   Invite participants to move their hands in different shapes (circles, spirals, etc) to a lively song,

   then contrast movement of shapes with a slow song/ textures/ dynamics.

   Appoint a conductor to lead the group. 'Freeze' movement when conductor stops music.

    Take turns with other conductors moving fast/slow., etc.      

    Play a melodic song and invite hands to follow melody up and down.

     Invite participants to tell a story using their hands with a beginning, middle and end in one minute.  

     No words needed, use different styles of music.

     Duets: one tells a story with their hands, while the other interprets the story.

     Switch places with the listener creating rhythm for the story told by other's hands.

      

      CREATE A GROUP SONG

       Choose a style of song:  blues,  country or  a song you know and love well

        Ask folks in your group a question that interests them:  

        what work did they do with their hands?

         Where are they from?  How are they feeling?

       

Gathering these words into a song makes for a satisfying and celebratory ending to a session.

        The words you gather fit rhythmically into the verses of your song.

       Get input from the group and work together to get your song sounding the way you like.

      CLOSING  SONG

         "Peace Like A River,"  "Amen" or any personal favorite that people can join in to sing