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Experiencing Joy In Our New Program Center

Posted: March 31, 2011

I am always happy when different aspects of my life converge in pleasant ways.  So last week when I observed a special opening activity for our new program center in Brighton, I was completely joyful.

Part A:  My work.  The program center is 16,000 square feet of space that we just built to offer a range of important, life-enhancing activities for all our Brighton residents.  The heart and soul of JCHE living is community.  We now have a stunning program center to offer book clubs, chess groups, art classes, fitness opportunities, a multi-lingual library, and fabulous auditorium programs.  Each of these contributes to our ability to bring people together and to form bonds.  To introduce residents to the new spaces we set up a month-long series of special events.

Part B:  My home.  This year we have an exchange student from Medellin, Columbia.  Andres is studying at New England Conservatory to be an orchestral conductor.  He’s extremely talented and perhaps the hardest working person I’ve ever encountered. His love of music permeates our home.

Bringing them together: Francine, our brilliant fitness/wellness director, had heard about a new form of exercise called “conductorcize” and thought it sounded fabulous.  A conductor puts on a piece of music and conducts an imaginary orchestra while participants imitate the motions.  Andres was immediately on board when I asked if he would be the
guest conductor for our kick-off conductorcize class.  He chose Beethoven’s 5th symphony and Dvorak’s New World Symphony — familiar pieces to all—and demonstrated how he would actually conduct it.  The beauty of his movements and connection to the music transcended the language barriers and was truly mesmerizing.  His narration of his thought processes as he moved through the piece were inspiring.  The residents were hooked.  Suddenly, there were 20 people in the room, raising batons and swaying with the music.  It was a wonderful moment.  The residents, who live in the building where I work, were connecting to my exchange student, of whom I’m so proud.  Everyone was having a good time – and the sound track was Beethoven!  Joy.


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