'showcases' help to performers
By Leslie Mccullough
Banner Staff Writer
Attention, Music City: Professional
songwriters are performing in quiet, personal settings before
small audiences that listen intently.
But these shows aren't being dished out for
the over-21-year old listeners who stroll through the doors of
Nashville's famed Bluebird Cafe.
They're not the billing at Diamond 'n the
Ruff, and you won't hear them at 328 Performance Hall.
They are "Showcases for Seniors," and they're
just one part of a national not for profit company for the
elderly that is the brainchild of Nashville resident Bob Rowe.
Rowe says the concept of his company,
Renaissance Enterprises, is simple elderly people in retirement
centers or senior homes can enrich the lives of performers by
serving as an audience while benefiting from music, poetry,
readings or painting done by industry artisans.
We're the only organization I know of that
takes professional artists into nursing homes and other care
facilities, including homes for veterans and the developmentally
disabled," Rowe says.
The company, just being developed in
Nashville, already has received letters of praise from Mother
Teresa and President Bill Clinton. And Renaissance boasts 500
programs across the nation as it makes the move into Nashville
senior care facilities.
"We look for local artists in a given area,"
Rowe says. "Obviously, Nashville has a lot to offer."
One showcase singer, Candace Anderson, says
the emotional rewards are there for the performers.
The Renaissance program recently had Anderson
performing in the chapel of McKendree Towers for residents at
McKendree Village Retirement Center in Hermitage.
"As a performer, it's important to feel
appreciated," Anderson says. And the performers are appreciated:
Elderly listeners often won't want an entertainer to leave.