SU-CASA is a community arts engagement program created by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York City Department for the Aging, and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson that brings teaching artists to senior centers around New York City. Greenwich House Senior Centers have long enjoyed SU-CASA programming, and the latest class had the added benefit of bringing the senior community and Greenwich House Music School together.
The Greenwich House Adult Choir and Songwriting Course was taught by Greenwich House Music School choral faculty John Tafone throughout the spring of 2019. On June 27th, the choir members showed off what they learned with a performance at Judith C. White Senior Center. The program featured musical theater favorites and songbook classics like “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” from Hello, Dolly!, “Tonight” from West Side Story, “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley. The concert was such a hit the audience called for an encore!
Seasoned performers and new singers alike enjoyed the opportunity to come together every week and immerse themselves in music. They were especially excited about learning the fundamentals of reading sheet music, music theory, and songwriting. “I’m not a singer but I enjoy singing,” said Nilsa Rios after the performance. “Music makes me so happy, and love being able to express my inner feelings through song. I never thought I could write a song myself, and now I know how! It was really fun.”
A unanimous highlight of the Choir was getting to work with Mr. Tafone. “I’ve been singing in choirs my whole life,” said Eunice DeTrani, “and what really set this experience apart was John’s leadership. He’s so friendly and energetic, and I loved watching him move with the music. He got us to connect with the music on an emotional level.” “I not only felt supported by him but appreciated by him,” Nilsa agreed. “He made us feel like he was the lucky one to get to spend time with us! It made it a very special experience.”