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Young at Heart Project Garden Concert

SAN JOSE, CA August 24, 2012 - Young at Heart Project (YAHP) a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that brings professional musicians to perform songs from past eras for elderly confined to convalescent homes and senior centers, held a garden concert fundraiser in Saratoga, CA.

Recognized as a model by the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Council on Aging, the 30 year old program is on a renewed growth path after the recent economic downtown. To show their support, Saratoga, residents Jim and Margaret Magill hosted a garden concert fundraiser for YAHP in their home on Saturday August 18th, with the help of YAHP musicians Chip Curry, Steve Kritzer, former Arizona state champion fiddler Marc Rennard, percussionist Jeff Baker, and YAHP Founder Sean Seman.

As well as a direct fundraiser, the event also served as a pilot for the new “Friends of Young At Heart Project”—supporters willing to host and/or organize fundraisers and informational events to benefit YAHP.

Sean Seman addressed the garden concert audience thanking them for their support of YAHP and explaining the importance of the program and of the growing need. “Society tends to overlook the elderly, assuming that family or care facility staff will attend to all their needs. Reality is often quite different. Family members may work full time, live afar, or care for a senior at home. Facility staff addresses physical needs but rarely emotional needs or quality of life issues. 70% are never visited by family.  As numbers in nursing homes grow, the degree of the under-served elderly also grows. This is creating a new, mostly unrecognized problem for a society that prides itself on taking care of its citizenry from ‘cradle to the grave.’”

Robert J. Moretti, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, and an advocate of YAHP explained how music improves the well-being of the elderly, “First of all, music speaks to the deepest emotional parts of us. It is used in therapy. Young at Heart Project improves upon this by bringing the music of former times for adults. This music reawakens personal and historical memories related to the era when it was popular, allowing our elderly citizens to actively reminisce in a healthy fashion. The reminiscing itself is a form of cognitive stimulation identified by psychological research as being critically important for recovery and maintenance of the mental capacities of the elderly.

The concert successfully met the goal of raising $5,000 through cash donations and a silent auction of donated items including a silk painting of magnolias by hostess Margaret Magill, an artist and longtime member of Gallery Saratoga and two oil paintings by fellow gallery members Kerrie Brandau and Murray Wagnon. Also donated was a Johnson JD-06 acoustic guitar from Keith Holland Guitars and other items from local businesses and organizations including Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center, Athletic Performance in Willow Glen, Diana C. Roberts (photography), The Indian Store, Jos. A. Bank Clothing, Liquid Sunshine Airbrush Tanning, The Luggage Center in Los Gatos, Maria Klein quilts, Moben (Sportswear), Montalvo Arts Center, Native Revival Nursery in Aptos, Svelte (Nutrition Drinks), Trent Pottery, and Willow Street Pizza of Los Gatos.  Food, beverages and decorations for the soiree were donated by CB Hannegan’s, Whole Foods of Los Gatos, Caterman’s Catering, Icing on the Cake, and Balloonatics.

Approximately 100 guests attended and enjoyed a mix of old-time, bluegrass, Celtic, swing and original music as well as an impromptu performance by YAHP Board Member Tony Becker, a singer, guitarist and promoter of traditional Irish music events. Host Jim Magill stated, "It was a pleasure and honor for Margaret and me to host such a fun event for a great cause and worthwhile charity.”

Since 1985, the Young at Heart Project has entertained over 100,000 seniors in senior and day care centers and skilled nursing, convalescent, memory disorder, Alzheimer's, and residential community facilities throughout Santa Clara, Monterey, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz counties.

Shyama Sachi, Young at Heart Project
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