Center for the Development of Arts Leaders: Working at Goddard House

For the past few months, From the Top has been hard at work launching a Boston Pilot, as part of our Center for the Development of Arts Leaders (CDAL). This blog is part of a series written by Linda Gerstle, Director of Education and Community Partnerships, chronicling the pilot year of this program. Read the other posts here.

Charlie is the “leader” of the current events discussion, the man with the microphone. Ben has a son in Syria and Mimi is very outgoing. Floyd sets up the chairs, is loud, friendly, and 100 years old!!! These are the ways in which the Center for the Development of Arts Leaders Team Delta have come to know the residents at the Goddard House. Team Delta has been so captivated by the residents’ stories that they are recording and cataloging those stories on a CD that will be given to residents, their families, and staff. The five arts leaders are working with their mentor, Mike Dahlberg, to develop an interview protocol for these conversations. They will be learning some recording and editing techniques as well in order to produce the CD. The groundwork for this effort was laid by the team over the past six months; they hosted a series of mini soirees for increasing numbers of residents whose input was consistently sought in creating the program content. Music excerpts from the soirees chosen by the residents will also be the back drop for the CD stories.

(L to R) John Carney, Will Hess, Dante Velasquez, Mike Dahlberg (mentor), Maddie Bauer, Tiffany Cheng, and Danielle O'Brien (Goddard House)

Opened in 1849 as the first private, non-profit home for elders in Massachusetts, the Goddard House in Brookline, MA for Assisted Living and Goddard House Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Jamaica Plain, MA offer a continuing commitment to elders through a range of services and care. Goddard House was also the first partner to sign onto the Center for the Development of Arts Leaders pilot year. As part of this pilot, teams of teen and early college musicians in Greater Boston are doing applied projects with community partners as part of an exploration of what it means to be an arts leader.

Team Meeting at Panera

In addition to the soiree series with the group of residents and story project described above, Team Delta has had some opportunities to interact with the Alzheimer unit at Goddard. This has been challenging in good ways for the team, inspiring them to consider the ways in which music can create memorable experiences for those whose memory capacity is compromised.

The experience at Goddard has been transforming for many of the Team Delta arts leaders, opening a window on a world that most don’t have regular opportunities to experience. As one of the arts leaders reflected, I wish I had had this experience while my grandparents were alive.