The Greens Gets Jazzy

The Greens at Greenwich switched tunes and hosted Jazz in the Garden July 20.

By Michael Korvyakov

After bringing in the Evanescent Quartet last month to put on a classical music concert, The Greens at Greenwich switched tunes and hosted Jazz in the Garden on Wednesday, July 20. The Greens at Greenwich is an assisted living facility focused on care for the elderly with Dementia and Alzheimers. Music plays a big role in their care because it’s often one of the last things their residents forget and serves as a way to bring the community together.

These two concerts, which are part of a summer series, provide an opportunity for guests to relax and listen to beautiful music as part of the residence’s arts program. This series features a variety of music options so each resident can hear a style of music they like. Last month’s event, hosted in a tent due to rain, was a more formal concert. The residents and guests sat down and appreciated the music of the quartet for the duration of the concert, with a brief intermission to talk and get food. Only residents and their families were invited.

Maria Scaros, the Executive Director of the Greens at Greenwich, says that the Jazz in the Garden event was intentionally different. “This time, we invited everyone: families, neighbors, guests, and healthcare professionals.” Music played in the background as the attendees talked, ate, enjoyed the view, and appreciated each other’s company. There were benches and cocktail tables with beautiful flowers situated throughout the garden, providing a great setting for interaction. The weather also reflected the feel of the event, with a temperature of 90 degrees. Beth Leibowitz, the program director at the Greens, encouraged the residents to dance and could be seen smiling among them throughout the evening. Over one hundred guests attended the event.

Scaros also emphasized that during this event that the organizers were “able to focus on sharing our love of food with people, in addition to our love of music.” There were four food stations set up around the event, each with its own distinct food. One had appetizers such as shrimp, fruits, cheese, and crackers; another had meat and vegetables; the last two had fish and an assortment of pasta. Eventually, the hors d’oeuvres table was replaced with a wide selection of desserts.

The music was played by Cecilia Tenconi, who alternated between playing the saxophone, flute, and singing. “As soon as I saw her and heard her for the first time, I wanted her to come every year,” said Scaros. This year, Tenconi was accompanied by Mala Waldron, a keyboardist and a longtime friend of hers. Together, they specifically picked songs that would be appreciated by this audience – predominantly music from the 1940s and 50s. “It’s a very nice setting and the people are very responsive,” she said

After two years of limiting the event due to Covid, they were excited to bring it back and open it to more guests. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone to get together,” said Sharon Parker, an employee at the Greens. According to Parker, this event serves as an opportunity both to listen to great music, and for healthcare professionals to network and get to know each other. The event’s popularity has brought it back to the Greens every year for about six years.

The popularity of the event can be attributed to the attendees’ love of Jazz music, which is a favorite among the staff and residents. Juliet Clifford, a nurse who’s been working at the residence for a year, said, “you can see that the music relaxes [the residents]. Even the residents who can’t communicate verbally, you can see a difference in their mood.” Every year, the Greens tries to host the event close to the fourth of July to celebrate jazz’s uniquely American history.

Next in the Greens’ summer series is an ice cream social held on the grounds in late August. This event will be catered by Gopher Ice Cream, a Greenwich staple. The music featured will be Caribbean to match the summer feel as the season comes to end.

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