Oxford Civic Chorus will present “When Memory Fades, a benefit concert for Memory Makers” at 3 p.m. Sunday May 7 at David H. Nutt Auditorium. The program is a touching tribute to loved ones with memory loss and their caregivers.
Admission is free. Donations received at the concert and at OxfordCivicChorus.org through May 15 will go to Memory Makers, a nonprofit that serves people in the L-O-U community affected by memory loss due to dementia. The program offers socialization, activities and exercise for participants, and a much-needed break for their caregivers.
Al Cutterini is an elder law attorney with North Mississippi Rural Legal Services and board president of Memory Makers.
“The whole idea of it is just to give the caregivers time off and the rest they need,” Cutterini said. Because the caregivers get worn out faster than the people suffering with dementia. They get four hours to go take a nap if they want to, do laundry, do grocery shopping — all the things that you can’t do when you have to watch someone.”
The chorus had planned the benefit concert in 2020, but had to shelve it when the pandemic hit. Likewise, Memory Makers had to suspend operations for a while but has expanded, moved to a new building, and is about to take on a new program manager.
“We want to reintroduce ourselves to the community and let them know, ‘We’re here; here’s what we do,’” Cutterini said. “So it’s just a perfect time for Oxford Civic Chorus to pick us.”
The connection between music and memory is profound. A line from Robert S. Cohen’s “Alzheimer’s Stories” is “Love and music are the last things to go.”
“You can literally see that,” Cutterini said. “If you ever go there when musicians are there, or even when they’re just singing songs, they just light up. There’s something in our memory that, no matter how bad off we are, we can go back to that.”
The program has room for more participants, and some scholarships are available. Find out more at MemoryMakersOxford.wordpress.com.