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Tune in—it’s good for your health

Created date

December 31st, 2008

THE ERICKSON TRIBUNE Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have confirmed what people living at Charlestown and Oak Crest have known for years: Music is good for your heart. "We had previously demonstrated that positive emotions, such as laughter, were good for vascular health," says study author Michael Miller, M.D. "So a logical question was whether other emotions, such as those evoked by music, have a similar effect." The answer is apparently so! When study participants listened to music that made them feel good, it caused tissue in the inner lining of their blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow. This is welcome news for the men and women living at Charlestown and Oak Crest, where music is part of everyday life. "Music and our communities go hand in hand," says Retirement Counselor Steffany Byers. "We have dozens of talented musicians living at Charlestown and Oak Crest, as well as many opportunities to hear great music." The two communities, along with Riderwood in Silver Spring, have even partnered with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to sponsor a series of concerts through May 2009. Bring in the talent "We ve had a long list of wonderful artists perform here in the community," says Irma Seitz, Oak Crest resident and concert coordinator.The concert committee including Seitz, part-time concert coordinator Sallie Horner, a planning committee of ten, and a dedicated team of nearly 80 volunteers has hosted talents to the likes of the Towson University Chamber Ensemble, the Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition, the Baltimore Symphonic Band, and the Maryland State Boychoir. "We try to make the entertainment diverse so there is something for everyone," says Seitz. "On average, we do about 50 to 70 concerts a year." According to Seitz, the goal is to bring exceptional musical acts to Oak Crest at a reasonable cost. "We make it so that everyone can afford it," she says. "We have a small grant from Baltimore County. We also get a grant from the Treasure Chest (a resident-run resale store), and we sell $2 tickets to the shows. Right now, we re booked through August 2009." Charlestown also brings in talent from the outside. From September through June, the public is invited to the Chapel Concert Series, featuring classical music by renowned artists in Our Lady of the Angels Chapel. Big band, folk, jazz, and ethnic music are also on the menu for Charlestown residents as part of its year-round Community Concert Series. Resident stars Residents at Charlestown and Oak Crest may tune in to music from across the globe, but they also appreciate sounds created right under their own roofs. Performing arts ensembles like the Harmonizers and the Charlestown Brass Quintet can be heard regularly at the Catonsville community, while Oak Crest features its own talented chorus, pianists, and handbell groups. Shelton Bosley makes music every Wednesday evening, when he plays guitar for upwards of 40 people in Charlestown s Cross Creek lounge. "It s a lot of fun," says Bosley. "It s very informal. We have a regular crowd, and you ll also see people passing by stop and start singing along to songs they recognize from the 20s, 30s, and 40s." Bosley has been fond of music since an early age. "As a kid, money wasn t plentiful," he recalls. "So for entertainment, my parents would gather at friends houses to play cards. Afterward, someone would always play piano, and they would sing. I would sit there and listen and take it all in. It played a big part in my love of music." Today, Bosley has learned to play more than 49 songs by ear. He plans to continue hosting the sing-alongs as long as there are people to listen and chime in. "It s relaxing for me. I enjoy meeting new people and socializing. And everyone who comes seems to enjoy it so much, I would be afraid not to show up," he jokes. Visit Charlestown s online performing arts calendar