Giving Music: A Music Charity

Healing, through live music performances. Giving Music is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.

About Us

Dear Friends,

The remarkable healing power of music is making itself known throughout the healthcare community, and we at Giving Music are proud to be a part of this extraordinary process.  We are once again planning our annual Gift of Music Holiday Performance Series, in which our dedicated team of volunteers travel to nursing homes throughout LA County spreading holiday cheer to seniors with live music.  Last year, we brought the gift of music to more than 30 facilities between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, and this year, our goal is to exceed that number.  We can only do so with your help.

Giving Music is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization committed to bringing the healing power of music to the residents of care facilities and institutions.  Through our efforts, thousands of residents of nursing homes, hospitals and VA centers have had the opportunity to enjoy professional quality live entertainment at no cost to the facilities.

Our musicians and singers are working professionals who perform with us at a fraction of their usual rates, which in many cases barely covers transportation and other expenses.  Additional costs for us include scheduling and staffing performances, music preparation, and printed materials.

We need your help today to bring music to thousands of seniors this holiday season.  Your tax-deductible donation can help give music to many who would otherwise not enjoy the benefits that live music can provide during the most musical of seasons.  Additionally, your name or your company’s name will be added to the performance programs, and to a special benefactor’s page on our web site.

Thank you for your kindness and best wishes from all of us at Giving Music.

OUR MISSION

To spread musical joy in nursing homes, children’s and VA hospitals, and homeless shelters throughout the City and County of Los Angeles.

Giving Music is a 501 (c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing live music to care facilities and social service agencies.  We are staffed by music, medical and social service professionals who are dedicated to bringing the joy and healing powers of music to nursing homes, hospitals, VA centers and shelters at no cost. Our volunteer musicians and singers have performed for thousands of residents at over a hundred care facilities. Our bands annually give over a hundred performances in nursing and convalescent homes throughout Southern California.

Our repertoire for the elderly consists of songs from the golden eras of popular music and is designed to evoke fond memories in senior citizens.

A number of recent studies have demonstrated that even in the most memory-deficient patients, including those suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s, music can spark recollections and evoke cognitive responses, often resulting in alleviation of depression and physical pain. By focusing on music from the 40s and 50s, we connect with elder care patients in ways that, until recently, health professionals did not think was possible.

A typical performance features an ensemble of three to five musicians accompanying one or more vocalists. Our performances feature music that is familiar to our audiences. We choose our material based on audience demographics and we often take requests.

Giving Music collaborates in hosting the Los Angeles Holiday Caroling Festivities (performing left to right) Don Peake: guitar (The Wrecking Crew, Marvin Gaye, Everly Brothers, Ray Charles, Righteous Brothers, Ike & Tina Turner, Jackson 5, John Lennon, The Commodores, Jan & Dean, The Mamas & Papas, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, The Beach Boys, Billy Preston, Diana Ross, and Sonny & Cher), Prescott Niles: Bass (The Knack: ‘My Sharona’, George Harrison, Missing Persons), Carl Verheyen: guitar (Supertramp), Chris Ross: drums (Kenny Loggins, Joe Cocker, Lisa Haley, and Three Dog Night), Fred Herrera: singer (Sweetwater), Alex Delzoppo: singer (Sweetwater), Nolan Porter, Patricia Zappa: singer (seated, sister of Frank Zappa), Yuka O’Day: singer (Alan O’Day’s widow: ‘Undercover Angel’)

 

For holidays, our groups prepare music specific to the occasion, including love songs for Valentine’s Day, patriotic material for July 4th, Veteran’s and Memorial Day, and holiday classics for the Christmas season.

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Our performers engage audience members in sing-alongs and other participatory activities. In addition to our bands, we also feature classical ensembles, and solo and duet performers as well.

 

What Administrators and Directors Say About Us

“After the last event, residents who are not normally able to give a response were suddenly clapping and singing. There’s clearly something happening here that’s quite wonderful.”
– Myles Andrews, Administrator, Highland Park Skilled Care Facility

“Our residents have never heard that kind of music.  They were in great spirits not just for the rest of the day, but for the rest of the week!”
– Linda Goldfinger, Activity Director, Fireside Convalescent Hospital

 

“To our surprise, one of our residents who rarely speaks was rocking away, even putting her hands up and waving them along with the music.”
– Jean-Marie Meyer, Activity Director, Woodland Care Center

 

“Truly Awesome! It is caring people such as yourselves who make all the difference for our patients and make the world a brighter place.”
– Marianne Davis, Chief of Voluntary Service, Department of Veteran Affairs


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“I have no words to express the excitement that your program put in my residents.  Even the ones that never get out of their chairs were dancing and singing.  Your carolers, musicians and every single person that was part of this amazing program need to know how grateful they all are. Thanks for bringing so much joy to them.”
– Vera Zakuto, Fairwinds-West Hills Program Director

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“Giving Music was exceptional! Five wonderfully talented musicians delighted our residents…and we hope to see you again soon!”

Howard Celnik, Activity Director, Fireside Convalescent Hospital, Santa Monica

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Previous President’s Messages

The big guy standing near the parking garage told us, “I’m just the security guard,” but said he would try to help the band find parking. If you know Santa Monica, where we were doing an outdoor gig at a nice nursing home, you know we were a lot more likely to need help with parking than we were with security. We all got a good place to park our cars and only had to carry our equipment a short distance. It was a sunny day and we set up on the patio where the residents were enjoying a beautiful day by the beach with a bar-b-que and live music. That’s us.

I’m sort of the roadie and equipment guy as well as the photographer and president of our organization. With all that assumed authority I get to set things up, to a degree, the way I want them to be. I like to give our singers long cords, thirty to fifty feet, on their microphones so they can get off the stage and out into the crowd. The nursing home staff and residents seem to like that and the singers do too. The residents often sing along and hug the singers. As a medical social worker, I have always encouraged physical contact like that and the nursing home residents love it when I bring pictures of them with the singers or the band the next time we play there.

Near the end of our set, the residents were dancing and singing along and I happened to glance over at the big security guard, also watching the show. As I looked closer, I noticed he had tears on his cheeks. No social worker would let that get by, so I walked over to make sure he was OK. Sometimes our performances hit a strong musical memory and it isn’t uncommon for patients at nursing homes to tear up from such memories. But it didn’t seem like that would be the case with this guy. He was too big and strong for that.

“Are you all right?” I queried.

“Yeah, I guess,” he answered and then went silent for a moment. I did too.

“I’ve worked here for a few years now and seen a lot of musicians come and play, but you guys are the first ones I’ve seen that physically touch the patients. Other bands seem a little frightened to do it. But look at them. Look how happy and content they are.”

By now he was wiping at his eyes trying to keep up with those happy tears. Pretty brave, I thought, for a guy who was “just the security guard.”

We still didn’t need one of those. We just needed help parking. But the residents really did need that security guard just like they needed that touch. It was a special gig for us, getting noticed in that way. Even the social worker.

–Bob Lanz, L.C.S.W.