Elder Care Concert Series

The Elder Care Concert Series (ECCS) brings live music, including classical, jazz, swing, big band, contemporary, bluegrass, and traditional folk music to the confined elders of our community who reside in assisted living, skilled nursing and custodial nursing homes. This program improves the quality of life for these patients, reduces isolation and encourages socialization. The performing artists allow these seniors, who do not otherwise have the means, nor the health, to attend live musical performances. With performances occurring each week during the year, the artists and their audience develop a relationship that creates a sense of familiarity and comfort. The ECCS is administered by the Sierra Arts Foundation, with support from Healing Healthcare Systems, the City of Reno Arts and Culture Commission, and multiple private donations.

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Sierra Arts creates and manages spaces and venues throughout our community for artists to perform and display their work. We have many resources for the artists in our community.

 About Our Musicians

Art’s musician roster includes, approximately, two dozen professional musicians in our local community. The musicians who participate in the Elder Care Concert Series,  attend mandatory training sessions for the program. This training provides tools for all parties involved to enhance the overall artistic impact of the concerts. Through training and first-hand experience at the facilities, musicians gain skills which allow them to interact comfortably with the residents and to perform their music in ways in which will be best received and enjoyed by those suffering from Alzheimer’s and age-related ailments. Training for staff at the sites allows them to create an environment that will best facilitate the residents’ enjoyment of and participation in the concerts. It also helps staff to create the atmosphere of ‘ritual’ that is so much a part of combating the residents’ sense of isolation.

Alex Smith

Over the years, Smith has performed with Classic Rock, Country, Bluegrass, and Jazz bands in the Reno/Tahoe area. He has also DJed hundreds of weddings. In addition, he has performed at various senior living facilities in the Reno/Tahoe area. His main musical passions now are writing and singing songs and playing and singing jazz. “I love to write lyrics that tell stories and melodies that hopefully have a little something extra for the listener”.

Chad Sweet

Chad Sweet has spent much of his life as a theatre performer singing, acting, directing, writing, and dancing around the U.S. He is currently the Producing Artistic Director of Good Luck Macbeth Co. in Midtown Reno and the Technical Director at Reno Little Theater. He began his work as a nightclub singer while living in Mexico and continues crooning jazz standards and show tunes at infrequent events.

Colin Ross

Colin Ross is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with deep American roots. His shows feature a tremendous variety of original music combined with a fashionable blend of vintage styles. He mixes virtuosic blues and boogie, liquid 12-string guitar, greasy delta slide, and wry lyrics to make his own brand of Americana, all with the ease that only Colin can assemble.

Currently Working with the Following Facilities

Arbors Memory Care, a facility primarily for those with Alzheimer’s and other diseases that deal with memory loss. This facility is located in Sparks, Nevada.

Brookdale Vista offers Assisted Living lifestyle options for residents and their families in the Sparks metropolitan area.

Fountains Senior Care is an all-inclusive senior retirement community that specializes in quality of life enhancement in Reno, Nevada.

Monaco Ridge Assisted Living (Renown) is a wonderful alternative for people who need more care than what can be provided at home or in a retirement community. This facility is located on the campus of Renown South Meadows Medical Center in Reno, Nevada.

Park Place Assisted Living is Northern Nevada’s unique assisted living community of homes, delivering exceptional care 24/7/365 in Reno, Nevada.

Sierra Place Assisted Living Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, they offer a simply elegant lifestyle and resort-style amenities and senior services.

Stone Valley Alzheimer’s Special Care Center is committed to being the leader in providing quality personal services for residents, while honoring the experience of aging.

SAF is looking for additional facilities at which to provide concerts. Please contact Tia Flores, Program Director, for more information, tia@sierra-arts.org

Program History

The Elder Care Concert Series program began in 2002, as a partnership with Sierra Arts and Healing Healthcare Systems, to ease any isolation experienced by the residents of nursing facilities and to present a forum for community among them. Healing Healthcare Systems is a Reno-based company that develops media productions — such as in-house video/audio programming and ambient music designed to be directly supportive of the healing process in institutionalized settings. The program roots stem from Healing Healthcare’s president, Susan Mazer and her husband Dallas Smith’s, experience performing for seniors in an assisted living facility where Smith’s parents lived. After their first performance, they could clearly see how the music positively affected those who live in such facilities feel about themselves and their situation, “making those musical moments ones in which the sense of well-being transcends suffering.”

In 2002, Healing Healthcare Systems provided a generous donation of $5,000, which was matched by the City of Reno’s Arts and Culture Commission. Tommy Sands, an Irish musician who performs internationally, provided the first ECCS performance for Alzheimer’s residents at the Clare Bridge and Alterra Wynwood facility. Jill Berryman, former SAF Executive Director, was an audience member for that first concert and says, “It was amazing to witness the transformation of the residents in one hour’s time. It was like watching time-lapse photography of a rose blooming, starting out with the tightest bud, people not socializing or interacting at all, to the full bloom when suddenly residents moved to the first row, they began singing along, they started talking to each other and having eye contact with Tommy and the staff. I cry sometimes when I think about what took place and the power the arts have to make it happen.”

In the magazine, Nursing Homes Long Term Care Management, Susan Mazer detailed the program, and spoke to the benefits of the Elder Care Concert Series performances as recurring events, around which to build this sense of ‘ritual. ‘ “Presenting concerts in nursing homes or hospitals is not a new idea. However, an eldercare concert, whose specific intention is to enrich the facility’s culture and enhance residents’ quality of life, has far more comprehensive impact than a one-time or occasional event.” She has also written that, “After returning to the facilities to perform several times, the relationships between the musicians and their audiences develop into a partnership that benefits everyone- staff, residents and musicians.”

Thank You

This program is possible due to the kind contributions of Susan Mazer and Dallas Smith, Robert S. and Dorothy J. Kaiser Foundation, City of Reno Program Funding, Dermody Properties Foundation, NV Energy, Nevada Arts Council, and National Endowment for the Arts

For more information about this program please call or email Tia Flores, Program Director at tia@sierra-arts.org

Supported by our Community

Nevada’s premier arts organization & resource center.

In 1987 Sierra Arts Foundation began awarding grants to artists of all disciplines living within a 100-mile radius.

Get In Touch

Artist Reception

Sierra Arts Foundation 17 S. Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501

(775) 329-2787

Gallery Hours

10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Tuesday through Friday
Saturday: 11:00 – 3:00

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