All good seniors searching for entertainment, look no further than the Ventura Music Festival’s new outreach program, Community Music Pilot (CMP). Funded by the Elaine and Albert Borchard Foundation, the CMP provides free live concerts to seniors and other members of the community for whom access to music is limited.
Launched in November, performances are being scheduled in senior facilities across the county. Cellist Virginia Kron opened with a concert at Gables of Ojai. Classical pianist Miriam Arichea and bluegrass artists Phil Salazar and Gene Rubin also performed concerts for San Buenaventura Housing Authority.
Noted Ventura County jazz percussionist Charles Levin and his band, Coda, also accepted an invitation to be a part of CMP. The band recently played at Chapel Lane, a senior housing facility in east Ventura.
Levin acknowledged that his band received a warm reception. “They appeared to love it,” he remarked. “It was a small intimate crowd in a cafeteria setting and they seemed rather enthralled.”
Enthralled and happy to hear such high-caliber music. “From the comments we got,” Levin added, “they don’t get a lot of this. They appreciated that someone would take the time out to do this for seniors. It really kind of made their day.”
VMF executive director Susan Scott applied for the Borchard grant because she felt it was an excellent way to help seniors remain vital and healthy as well as broaden the local outreach of the festival.
“When I applied for the grant,” she said, “I wrote that the CMP’s genesis was in findings emerging from the Creative Aging Movement documenting the relationship between creative expression and healthy aging — that participation in the arts is proving key to embracing the process of getting old and enjoying longer lives. It’s transformational. Loneliness is muted and morale boosted.”
Scott hopes that other facilities and agencies in the county will take advantage of this program. “We want to get the word out to agencies and centers about this wonderful opportunity,” she stated. “Instead of asking these audiences to come to our concert halls, we are bringing the concerts to them at their facilities.”