Senior '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.


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Last modified: 09/28/14