According to research conducted at Johns Hopkins University, "There are few things that stimulate the brain the way music does." The study reports that listening to music will keep the brain engaged throughout the aging process; reduce anxiety and blood pressure; and improve sleep quality, mood, and memory.
Fortunately, for community members at Greenspring, an Erickson Living-managed community in Springfield, Va., close proximity to Washington D.C.'s world-renowned entertainment provides the unique opportunity to host world-class musicians on campus.
Greenspring's resident-run entertainment roundtable, with the support of community resources staff, invites, plans, and hosts more than 20 live musical performances each year. This dedicated group also sells tickets, serves as ushers, operates lighting and sound, and serves as master of ceremonies.
"I really enjoy bringing in quality entertainment for my neighbors to enjoy," says Roger Thompson, a member of the roundtable, who has lived at Greenspring for the last five years.
Let us entertain you
Each month, with the exception of July and August, Greenspring hosts several Sunday afternoon concerts known as the Sidney Foster concert series after the community member who initiated the series.
Last fall, pianist Thomas Pandolfi, a graduate of the Juilliard School of music, performed to a sellout crowd. In addition, Dale Jarrett, a pianist and vocalist, who has performed for three U.S. presidents, recently entertained a full house of Greenspring community members.
In celebration of the holidays, Greenspring welcomed the handbell choir from St. Matthews United Methodist Church in Annandale. Performing beautiful Christmas tunes, the choir is a holiday favorite among community members.
This month, the community welcomes the 12-member Nitehawks Swing Band, performing both swing and contemporary jazz music.
Tickets to these professional, one-hour performances cost a mere $5 a show. Community members often bring family members and friends with them.
"We are enjoying professional entertainers at a fraction of the cost of seeing them throughout the Washington, D.C., area," says Norma Hughes, who also serves on the entertainment roundtable.
"More than ever, Greenspring community members are enthusiastic about participating in a variety of on-campus activities, especially live music performances," says Dwayne Ward, Greenspring's community resources coordinator.
As a result of the successful Sunday concert series, the entertainment roundtable decided to bring additional offerings to their neighbors on Saturday evenings.
The performances, known as "Saturday Night Live," are offered on the first Saturday of the month, with several additional performances around the holidays.
Recently, Emil Chudnovsky, a world-renowned violinist, member of the Manassas Symphony Orchestra, and faculty member at The Catholic University of America, performed at Greenspring's Village Square theater.
The arrival of each professional performer at Greenspring is due to the hard work and dedication of the resident members of the entertainment roundtable. The group meets on the third Thursday of each month to coordinate offers and share feedback they receive from neighbors.
"Greenspring community members really appreciate our efforts," says Roger. "We take their feedback very seriously."
"We have many performers who enjoy performing at Greenspring and request to be added to our yearly schedule," says Norma. "In addition to community favorites, we strive to bring new, fresh entertainment on campus each year. We have performers send us DVDs of their performances or links to YouTube videos for review."
Variety of venues
Depending on performance type or performer's request, concerts are held in either the Village Square theater, Accotink room, or the chapel.
"With a grand piano and wonderful acoustics, the chapel is the preferred spot for many of our pianists and violinists," says Roger. "But we are extremely fortunate to offer a range of options to our performers."
For those whose schedules preclude attending a performance, all concerts from both series are taped and aired on Greenspring's in-house cable channel 6.
New for 2020, the entertainment roundtable is selling an entertainment passport package, a book of 12 tickets that may be used at any Roundtable production throughout 2020. The cost of the book is $50, a $10 savings over the cost of individual tickets.
Upcoming performances include the NOVA Annandale Symphony Orchestra, the Northern Virginia Chorale, the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, and the West Point Alumni Glee Club.
"I've always loved music," says Norma. "I previously played the piano and sang in choirs. It's a big part of my life, and I love that I can continue to explore and share that passion at Greenspring."