In 2008, I was challenged by my government teacher, Colonel William P. Holmes toI visit Charlotte Hall Veterans Home and sing for the veterans. At eighteen, that wasn't exactly a venue for which I had a vision. A few years later, on July 4, 2016, I visited Charlotte Hall to sing for the veterans for what I thought would be a "one-time" performance. During the show I experienced how much the music affected the veterans and how responsive they become while listening to a familiar tune. After the performance, the veterans were eager to talk with me and share their stories. Through conversation with the veterans, I learned that they do not have the opportunity to enjoy "live" performances which feature their favorite songs from earlier years. The veterans were appreciative, kind, and thanked me. I couldn't believe it. These were the people that sacrificed so much for the freedom that I enjoy and they were thanking me. This was the beginning of many more trips to Charlotte Hall, which led to other veteran homes, and finally the launch of Voices of Vets, Inc. in December, 2016. In an effort to put on a top-notch show, we seek musicians that are talented, educated, and have a heart for the veterans.
Music is rapidly becoming an integral part of helping many elderly and dementia patients. Specifically, hearing music from an earlier time that had a positive impact on them. Before the show starts, I watch as the residents are wheeled into the room, and many are unresponsive; however, once the music starts - IT IS MAGICAL! The residents lift their heads, tap their feet, and even sing along. One song in particular “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” is always a favorite as I am able to interact with the residents by handing them flowers and offering to let them sing in the microphone. Some residents harmonize with me and others sing along as they remember the lyrics. Many veterans have stories they start to remember during, and after the performances, so we always stay to visit and spend time talking with them.
These small events have brought me new insight into the power that music has over people. Being able to visit and to spend time with these great men and women has opened my eyes to how music can touch and bring life back to them. I think about these great men and women who have served our country well, and now spend their last days waiting for music to echo in the halls so that once again they can find enjoyment and happiness through the magic of the music and lyrics. The greatest generation will not be around much longer; therefore, it is important to bring back the music that once helped get these men and women through the wars.
-Kassandra Sandacz CEO