“Music is the universal language of mankind.” – The oft-recited Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quote struck a familiar chord this week at Frohring Recital Hall. Here, Hiram music students Cullen Davis and Meredith Golias played pieces composed by Hattie Larlham musicians.
“I found we’re kindred spirits because of our shared love for music and composing,” says Golias, referring to Hattie Larlham residents Jessica and Zach, with whom she has been creating music since December. On Tuesday, Golias played Jessica’s final work on the bassoon and Zach’s piece on the piano.
Davis, a senior majoring in music, says that in the process of making music with Hattie Larlham musician Mark, he also made a friend.
“These memories I’ll always cherish,” says Davis, describing the bond he and Mark developed while writing songs. Davis played Mark’s piece on the guitar before audience members, some of whom were brought to tears by the music and Davis’ sentiment.
Hiram alumna Sarah Weirich, who now works at Hattie Larlham as a creative arts tracker specializing in music, says artistic interest and creativity abound at Hattie Larlham.
“Our program allows these folks to express themselves artistically in virtually whatever way they choose,” Weirich says.
Although the collaborative program with Hiram students is likely therapeutic and educational, it is not music therapy or education with set outcomes for participants, according to Weirich.
“They are in charge, they make the choices and everything they create is their own,” says Weirich, explaining that participants embrace the arts for arts’ sake.
Some create through electronic means. Others simply explore music by listening and trying instruments and reading articles. Still others compose on “live” instruments.
According to Weirich, the Hattie musicians started their pieces before they met Golias and Davis, but wanted to do more with their compositions and were interested in collaborating. So, Weirich paired them up with students and from there, they finished the pieces together.
“The students gave them suggestions and options of what to add to their pieces and the residents made the final decision from those suggestions. This allowed it to be a collaborative effort, while still giving the residents total control over their music,” Weirich explains.