Seniors moved by classic music performance

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Only a few notes into Cesar Cui’s “Berceuse and Badinage,” it started. Feet began to sway to the rhythm as the warm timbre of piano, layered with notes from the flute and violin swept the crowd.

On Sept. 5, residents at Atria Senior Living and Hilltop Commons were treated to an intimate concert at their respective facilities, as part of InConcert Sierra’s new Music on Wheels program. Music on Wheels aims to bring the healing gift of live classical music to residents whose physical limitations prevent their attendance at regular performances.

“The program is motivated in large part by the mounting scientific evidence on the positive impact of music on the health and wellbeing of aging persons, including those diagnosed with dementia and in post-stroke recovery,” said Rafael Diaz, the InConcert Sierra board member who is spearheading this new program.   

The concerts featured InConcert Sierra Artistic Director Ken Hardin on piano, concertmaster Richard Altenbach on violin and Kirsti Powell on flute.

Scientific studies have documented multiple positive effects of listening to music, such as reduction of blood pressure, boosts in immune functions, pain relief, improved physical performance, facilitation of sleep, and recovery of physical, cognitive and linguistic functions after strokes, Diaz said.

As “Meditation” by Jules Massenet was performed at the senior living home, Ed Hayden had his eyes closed and head down while swaying to the music.

“This is beautiful,” Hayden said after the concert. “Best music I ever heard. I’ve never heard music like that in my life.”

For more information about this program or InConcert Sierra, visit or call 530-273-3990.