Music Recording Industry

Music Recording Industry Launches Program/Film Giving Back to Underserved Seniors with Live Music

The recording industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) is launching an uplifting documentary, Never Too Old, providing more evidence that experiencing live music together positively impacts the health and well-being and reduces the isolation of older adults. The film spotlights the experience live music performances create for performing musicians and their audiences as they come together at three senior centers located in New York City, New Orleans, and the Los Angeles area. The official release of the film is March 19, 2019 in New York, with additional screenings at the other two participating senior centers, at American Federation of Musician local offices, and at music industry meetings and events.

Shining a light on the Music Performance Trust Fund’s MusicianFest initiative to provide free musical performances at senior centers and assisted living facilities in the United States and Canada, the 27-minute documentary explores the many paths that led these musicians, many who are seniors themselves, to perform for older audiences. Audience members share their impressions about what these live music performances mean to them. Additionally, senior center professionals from each facility provide their perspectives of the impact these small performances have on the physical, mental, and social well-being of the individuals they serve and the need for quality lifestyle programming for older adults.

“Live music’s impact on the lives of seniors is truly immeasurable,” stated Dan Beck, trustee of the Music Performance Trust Fund and former Epic Records executive and President of V2 Records. “These performances stimulate our emotions and get people to interact with each other, to get up and move, and to reconnect with joyful memories. Bringing together professional musicians with the senior community has only fueled our desire to preserve and grow MusicianFest.”

The first screening of the film will take place at VISIONS Center on Aging in New York City, which specializes in providing service to blind and visually impaired seniors, providing insight into the multiple issues that can complicate the aging process. “Over 700 people are registered here and most are low income. Most are totally or legally blind, so they really relate to music but can't afford to go to Broadway or get a ticket to see a concert. This program brings the concert to them,” says Carrie Lewy, Director, VISIONS Senior Center, NYC.

Harmony House Senior Center in New Orleans, LA, which evolved from an abandoned, firehouse after Hurricane Katrina, now serves as a strong, central gathering place in the Treme section of New Orleans, where the roots of the city’s music run deep. “The state has cut funding for our senior centers,” explained Norman Smith, Executive Director, Harmony House Senior Center. “For these individuals to want to take their time to want to come here; it’s important to us. It makes us feel that someone cares. And we care about them and they care about us. I think it’s a plus-plus for all of us.”

Elyse Nordholm Garcia, Senior Center Director, Long Beach Senior Center in Long Beach, CA, added that “at least 40% of our population is homeless or semi-homeless. They come here and they can relax and escape into the entertainment... then we get to know what's going on in their lives and if we can help them with services.”

Never Too Old is being created in multiple lengths to facilitate multiple usage on digital outlets, in community meetings and in social media. A full length, 27-minute version provides insight in live music’s impact on well-being for older adult professional musicians and their audiences, while a 10-minute version will provide the essence of these messages while focusing on the reach and goals of the MusicianFest initiative. An abridged version will be provided by MPTF to the 200 local offices of the American Federation of Musicians for use on their websites and in meetings in their communities in the U.S. and Canada. Images and information will circulate via social media to raise awareness of the impact of live music and of opportunities to view the documentary.

For more, visit musicpf.org.