by Blake Chapman
Ball State University student organization Music & Memory held its annual ‘A Night to Remember’ fundraiser on Nov. 14th in Pruis Hall, raising a total of $1550 for the cause.
Music & Memory is a student service group with the mission of bringing personalized music to nursing home residents, with an emphasis on dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. The team of volunteers uses an array of different multimedia devices, like headphones, iPods, mp3 players, speakers and any other way they can get music out to senior citizens suffering from cognitive disorders. The fundraising event Wednesday night offered a large portion of musical and variety acts including the Ball State University Singers, Flute Guild and Ladies Choice. The fundraising opportunities included a raffle and split-the-pot, and amassed enough money to sustain the group through the rest of the academic year.
Dr. Michael Gerhard, Associate Professor of Telecommunications and faculty advisor for the project, remarked that he appreciates all the work the organization has already completed.
“When you take the music and combine that with loving interaction from volunteers with young people, it produces this incredible magic that you’d have to really see firsthand,” stated Gerhard when asked how Music & Memory serves the Muncie and Ball State community. Gerhard continued saying, “For the students they feel a real sense of happiness as a result of doing good things…when you feel like that it’s hard to be negative, full of self-pity, resenting things so it’s really good for our mental health.” An undertaking that affects the surrounding area in such a positive way is not only difficult but influential when it comes to each person’s personal motivation. Dr. Gerhard was convinced to begin the movement when he witnessed his own father suffering through the same ailments, he shared, “My dad was in a nursing home and I saw him being neglected and I wanted to change the whole system…when I came across this idea of bringing music to Alzheimer’s patients it was like something tangible and immediate I can do to make a difference.”
The evolution in streaming and ease of access to music and technology has had a direct affect on the way the organization conducts itself. With the advent of Spotify, Pandora and other on-demand music platforms, the specialized playlists of tunes are all delivered cheaply and at the touch of a button. As for new members, Dr. Gerhard is always searching for kind students and good-hearted individuals who follow the spirit of beneficence.
“We can’t fix the dementia, we can’t fix the aging, we can’t reverse any of that but we can enhance the quality of their lives in a very significant way,” said Gerhard. So anyone that is hooked on the high that life gives you when caring for those less fortunate, Gerhard and his team can spare an extra pair of earbuds just for you.
Blake is a Journalism major who loves everything Byte covers: video games, music, movies and animation. He hopes to gain real-world experience writing for Byte and all the other news organizations at Ball State. Blake is also an honors student and has a passion for learning new and interesting aspects of the world around him.