The contribution of the late Anne Williams to sustaining this vibrant program over the decades cannot be overstated. Anne was the pillar of strength and the driving force behind its success up until her incapacitating illness in early 2020, just before the pandemic. Ensuing restrictions on in-person performances because of the pandemic further crippled the program. However, in recent years the Outreach program has rebounded and has expanded considerably to 12 performances per year, or once per month, under the direction of Carol Henry, Anne’s successor. This has allowed the AMSF to cover a much wider territory in the DMV with regular recitals at the following venues:
- Arbor Ridge Nursing Home at Riderwood in Silver Spring MD
- Asbury Kindley Assisted Living in Gaithersburg MD
- Brooke Grove Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Sandy Spring MD
- Chevy Chase House Assisted Living in Washington DC
- Grace House Assisted Living in Silver Spring MD
- Raphael House Assisted Living in Rockville MD
- Vinson Hall Retirement Community in McClean VA
- Waltonwood Retirement Community in Ashburn VA
Now that the pandemic is behind us, it is hoped that we will be able to continue to re-connect with previous organizations (such as the Georgetown Seniors and the VA), and even add more venues in the future as the AMSF membership increases.
The impact of the AMSF Community Outreach is immense, as reflected by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we receive consistently from the residents after our recitals, and the appreciative smiles on the faces of residents as they listen to our musical renditions. One must bear in mind that AMSF members voluntarily provide entertainment for residents who would otherwise be unable to experience the joy of live performances. In fact, the demand is so high for the type of vocal and instrumental music we provide, that it would not be a stretch to imagine Community Outreach schedules of twice per month in the future. There was even a request from one Home for us to come every day at 4:00 p.m. to perform for their “Happy Hour!” Without a doubt, the AMSF can rest assured that an invaluable service is being provided to the local community.
Unlike residential recitals, the time allocation for Outreach recitals is restricted to one hour at most venues. That restriction tends to limit the number of participants that can be accommodated to between 4 and 8. Nevertheless, participation has been good, and Community Outreach has attracted solos, duets, trios, quartets, ensembles, and the ever-popular sing-alongs. We have even had an Irish jig dance at one recital. Instruments have included piano (usually available at the venue), flute, clarinet, guitar, strings, cornet, French Horn, ukulele and even a concertina. There are no restrictions on the type of instrument or music selected. Members of any level from beginner to advanced are encouraged to participate. Audiences range from small (10-15) to large (40-50), but they are all very appreciative and encouraging and are usually quite vocal about telling us. In fact, members will discover that invariably they get back much more than they give at Community Outreach recitals, and they will leave feeling uplifted and fulfilled!
“Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be silent if no birds sang except the best.” Henry Van Dyke