Music by Robert S. Cohen Libretto by Herschel Garfein
"Find those you love in the dark and light.
Help them through the days and nights.
Keep faith. They sense what they cannot show.
Love and music are the last things to go.
Alzheimer's Stories is a work for soloists, chorus and ensemble (14 instruments) based on real stories by ordinary people whose lives have been touched by Alzheimer's disease.
Premiered by the Susquehanna Valley Chorale in 2009 and broadcast on Pennsylvania Public Radio & Television, the project was a result of a commission from a chorus member whose parents had both died from the disease and wanted to fund a musical work that would both honor their memory and provide people greater awareness of the personal affect this disease has on the lives of both patients and loved ones.
Chorus members were asked to post stories on a blog and from approximately 90 submissions, 18 were chosen by Herschel Garfein - the 2011 Grammy nominated librettist of the opera Elmer Gantry - to form the basis for the text.
The work is in three movements: "The Numbers" - a historical and clinical examination of the disease; "The Stories" - a compilation of the stories posted on the blog; and "For the Caregivers" -advice for those who care for those with the disease. The work ends with the text highlighted above, based on the experience of a caregiver.
Audiences who have heard the work have been moved to tears, laughter and given a sense of hope through the work's focus on the power of music to communicate.
Through the Power of Music, Your Organization or University Can Help Bring Alzheimer's Awareness and the Music-Brain Connection to Your Community
A Pre-Performance Presentation
As an added takeaway for the audience, a short presentation on the power of personalized music is offered by the Thriving4Life nonprofit organization for your consideration.
Our favorite music is the #1 stimulus of our brain. It's impact for individuals with cognitive challenges is especially profound and serves as a valuable resource for caregivers.