My name is Brooke deRosa and I am a performer, composer and conductor.
For the past eight years I have been performing in nursing homes as a singer. I love performing at nursing homes. The residents are always so gracious and kind. My favorite part is at the end of the performance, when (in pre-COVID times) the patients would come up to me and fondly recall the time they had seen whatever opera or musical I had just sung from.
I remember one time in particular, there was a woman I noticed at the back of the audience in her wheelchair. I thought she was sleeping through the performance, as her eyes were closed. But at the end, her eyes opened and she moved over to me. She had tears in her eyes and she thanked me for singing from a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that her husband had taken her to on one of their anniversaries years before. She said the music concerts were a high point of the week for most of the residents.
Sometimes, people would be confused and not seem to know where they were, but once the music started, they seemed transported to a happy memory or time. It was truly those moments that mattered most.
Music has the incredibility to speak when words aren’t enough. There are no barriers to it’s enjoyment. It bridges all sorts of people from many different backgrounds. We are only starting to learn about it’s many applications in care settings, but I can say with utmost surety, music brings a sense of hope when hope is otherwise hard to find.