Groundbreaking UCSF study finds community choirs reduce loneliness and increase interest in life for older adults

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Sylvia Sherman, Community Music Center, Program Director
415-647-6015 x172, Ssherman@sfcmc.org

Groundbreaking UCSF study finds community choirs reduce loneliness and increase interest in life for older adults

  • Community of Voices Trial is a collaboration of UCSF, Community Music Center (CMC), and the SF Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS)
  • UCSF, CMC, and DAAS release Community of Voices Study Choir Program Manual about how to create community choirs for older adults

Community Music Center (CMC) keeps older adults singing throughout neighborhoods in San Francisco, serving nearly 400 adults every year. These community choirs were first developed out of the five-year Community of Voices (COV) trial led by UC San Francisco (UCSF) and in collaboration with CMC and the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS).

CMC began its work on the Community of Voices research study in 2012 that aimed to examine whether singing in a community choir is a cost-effective way to promote health and well-being among culturally diverse older adults. Community of Voices choirs were led by choir directors and accompanists from the Community Music Center. Music was culturally tailored for each choir, appropriate for older adults with various singing abilities, and challenging enough to facilitate growth and mastery over time.

The results of this study have just been released in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences study online Nov. 9, 2018. One important finding is that singing in a choir reduced loneliness and increased an interest in life.

“We hear from our older adult choir members all the time how singing in the choirs lifts their spirits, but it’s wonderful to get this confirmation from a research study about the impact of singing in a choir for older adults. We are grateful to UCSF and Julene Johnson for their work on this,” comments Julie Rulyak Steinberg, Executive Director, Community Music Center.

Overall, the UCSF researchers found that older adults who sang in a choir for six months experienced significant improvements in loneliness and interest in life. “Our current health and social systems are not prepared to help support our rapidly increasing population of older adults,” said lead author Julene Johnson, PhD, associate dean for research and professor in the UCSF School of Nursing. “For instance, there’s a high percentage who experience loneliness and social isolation, and depression also is relatively high. There’s a need to develop novel approaches to help older adults stay engaged in the community and also stay connected.”

A potential novel approach is to engage them in the arts, as they can be offered in the community, are relatively low cost to deliver, are engaging, and can be culturally tailored. One option is community choirs, as about 32.5 million U.S. adults regularly sing in choirs.

“The choir has made a big change in my life. The experience was wonderful with Community of Voices program, and I wanted to continue singing after the study ended. The choir has helped me with my breathing, with getting me out of the house and meeting new people – things that would not have happened without the choir”, says Isabel Heredia, who sings with the CMC Solera Singers of the Mission Neighborhood Center and the CMC 30th Street choirs.

Along with findings about the community choirs reducing loneliness and increasing interest in life, no substantial group differences occurred in the cognitive or physical outcomes or for health care costs.

“We were a little surprised not to see improvements in cognitive and physical function, especially because the literature, although small, suggested there should be improvements,” Johnson said. “However, our study is one of the first randomized controlled trials of a choir intervention, whereas the others were cross-sectional or did not randomly assign the participants.”

“More research is needed on how choirs improve well-being and the potential long-term health impacts,” said Johnson, who served on a 25-person panel of the National Institutes of Health and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on music and the brain, with results published in March 2018 in Neuron. The National Institutes of Health have just released three new requests for proposals to support research on music and health.

Each of the 12 choirs created during the five-year COV study continues to sing, having transitioned out of the study and into CMC’s Older Adult Choir Program. CMC older adult choirs are in partnership with San Francisco neighborhood senior centers, are tuition free, and open to people 55 and older.

The choirs in the CMC Older Adult Choir Program are:

Along with the release of the Community of Voices Study (COV) results, a Community of Voices Study Choir Program Manual about how to create a community choir for older adults was also released. This manual, developed by UCSF, CMC, and DAAS, provides information about the key components of the choir program, including how to select choir directors and accompanists, choosing repertoire, running a rehearsal, vocal and physical warm-ups, the role of performances, vocal considerations for older adults, and sustaining a choir program.

Information on the CMC Older Adult Choir Program:

https://sfcmc.org/adults/older-adult-choir-program/

Photos:
CMC 30th Street and Coro Solera Older Adult Choirs performance
Photo: Kelsey Ogden

CMC I.T. Bookman, Western Addition, Bayview Older Adult Choirs at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
Photo: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival/Alice Lin

CMC Aquatic Park Older Adult Choir at City Hall Lunch Concert
Photo: Eugenia Mann

Available interviews:
Julie Rulyak Steinberg, Executive Director, Community Music Center
Sylvia Sherman, Program Director, Community Music Center
María Cora, Older Adult Choir Coordinator, Community Music Center
Older Adult Choir members

Community of Voices Trial Funding: The study was supported by the National Institute of Aging (R01AG042526, P30AG15272) and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (UL1 TR000004) to UCSF. Anna Nápoles, PhD, MPH, of the National Institutes of Health, was partly supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Community of Voices article in Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences


Community of Voices Study Choir Program Manual


UCSF Press Release

About Community Music Center (CMC): CMC was founded in 1921, with the mission of making music accessible to all people, regardless of their financial status. CMC worked with Julene Johnson, principal investigator of the Community of Voices study, to develop and deliver the Community of Voices choir program. Each of the 12 choirs created for the study continues to sing, now as part of CMC’s Older Adult Choir Program which continues to grow. During 2017- 2018, CMC served over 2,700 students of all ages and levels and financial backgrounds and offered more than $2M in tuition assistance.

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Community Music Center selected for Outside Lands Works inaugural grant program

Historic San Francisco music organization selected for Outside Lands Works inaugural grant program

 

Contact:
Anne C. Mitchell, Marketing Manager
415-647-6015 x75, amitchell@sfcmc.org

 

For Immediate Release
SAN FRANCISCO, August 3, 2018 – Community Music Center (CMC), the Mission District-based nonprofit that provides high quality music lessons, programs, and concerts at no or low cost is honored to announce that it has been selected as an inaugural grantee of the Outside Lands Works charitable fund. Outside Lands noted for being an exceptional curator of musical talent with its summer festival, has recently launched Outside Lands Works (OLW) charitable fund that “invests in the cultural vitality of the Bay Area through grants to regional music and arts education programs.”

Laura Wainer, the Director of Outside Lands Works, visited Community Music Center’s main branch in the Mission District and CMC’s Richmond District Branch in June 2018 to get to know this music organization whose roots stretch back nearly one hundred years of providing musical access to Bay Area residents.

After visiting CMC’s campuses and learning more about CMC’s programs which serve more than 2600 students annually, Outside Lands Works informed CMC that it had been selected for the inaugural grant cycle.

“OLW was developed to support local music and arts programs and we’re so excited to partner with CMC to provide ongoing opportunities for locals, young and old, to explore and share their talents. The CMC Richmond District campus is key to the OSL festival because of its proximity to Golden Gate Park and the commitment we share to inspire music and empower our community,” said OLW Director Laura Wainer.

Commenting on the grant award notification CMC Executive Director had this to say,“We are so pleased to be a grantee of Outside Lands Works. The Outside Lands festival brings significant awareness to music in the Bay Area. This is an incredible opportunity for CMC to become more visible to festival fans. OLW support is an important contribution to the arts landscape of the Bay Area.”

About Community Music Center
Founded in 1921, San Francisco’s Community Music Center (CMC) is one of the oldest and largest community arts organizations on the West Coast. CMC makes high quality music accessible to all people, regardless of financial means. Last year, CMC awarded over $2 million in tuition assistance, serving more than 2,600 students of all ages, ethnicities and income levels with music lessons, classes and other programs. Thousands enjoyed performances at CMC and out in the community. Learn more about CMC at www.sfcmc.org and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Outside Lands Works (OLW) is a charitable fund that invests in the cultural vitality of the Bay Area through grants to regional music and arts education programs. We believe that music and the arts are essential to a healthy, thriving society and ensuring that the next generation and residents of underserved communities have equal access to music and the arts is especially critical. We hope to help bridge the gap left by declining arts funding through sustained investments in the many diverse creative neighborhoods and communities that make up the inimitable Bay Area.

KTVU Fox 2-July 10, 2018-Mayoral inauguration coverage featuring the CNotes

KTVU Fox 2-July 10, 2018-Mayoral inauguration coverage featuring the CNotes

The CNotes, CMC students and children of CMC faculty Maestro and Nola Curtis, were filmed at Community Music Center on July 10, 2018 the night before San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s historic inauguration. The CNotes joined Mayor Breed on the stage at the inauguration singing a medley “Lift Every Voice” and the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

Community Music Center launches New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus a community chorus for people self-identified as transgender, intersex, and genderqueer

Community Music Center launches New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus a community chorus for people self-identified as transgender, intersex, and genderqueer

Free community chorus for Bay Area transgender, intersex, and genderqueer
community now a reality in the Bay Area

Contact:
Anne C. Mitchell, Marketing Manager
415-647-6015 x75, amitchell@sfcmc.org

For Immediate Release
SAN FRANCISCO, July 17, 2018 – When Reuben Zellman, musical director and educator decided to make his dream of starting a community chorus for the transgender, intersex, and genderqueer community a reality, he thought of Community Music Center.

“When I was looking for a Bay Area music organization whose mission was musical access for all people, I naturally thought of CMC.” Zellman commented. “As a transgender singer and conductor, I have experienced first-hand the barriers that TIGQ face to musical participation. Singers tend to be rigidly and often thoughtlessly sorted by sex. Yet TIGQ vocal stories are often more complex.”

When Zellman approached CMC Program Director Sylvia Sherman two years ago to explore the possibility of starting the chorus, she was taken with the idea.

“Musical access is the core of CMC programs. When Reuben brought us the idea we immediately understood the need. Funding, as will any new program, was the hurdle to getting the chorus going,” said Sherman.

Over the course of two years, CMC worked to secure funding for the chorus pilot. Through the generous support of the individual donors and Ambassador James C. Hormel’s Hallelujah Fund, the New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus was born.

New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus as a pilot program of Community Music Center, launches on Sunday, September 16. The chorus will meet weekly, with Zellman as the Director. Registration for the chorus opens August 7. The entire range of the TIGQ community is invited to participate—all gender expressions and any stage of a physical transition or non-transition. The chorus is for all levels of singers.

“Community Music Center’s intention is to create a great choral ensemble and to provide a safe, creative space for transgender, intersex and genderqueer singers to make music, learn, and create community together,” said CMC Executive Director Julie Rulyak Steinberg about the launch of the pilot program.

Link to chorus: https://sfcmc.org/new-voices-bay-area-tigq-chorus/

Photo: New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus

Available interviews:
Reuben Zellman, New Voices Bay Area:TIGQ Chorus Director
Sylvia Sherman, CMC Program Director
Julie Rulyak Steinberg, Executive Director

Founded in 1921, San Francisco’s Community Music Center (CMC) is one of the oldest and largest community arts organizations on the West Coast. CMC makes high quality music accessible to all people, regardless of financial means. Last year, CMC awarded over $2 million in tuition assistance, serving more than 2,600 students of all ages, ethnicities and income levels with music lessons, classes and other programs. Thousands enjoyed performances at CMC and out in the community. Learn more about CMC at www.sfcmc.org and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

International music stars ​team​ing​ up to support Community Music Center’s Gala

Jeffrey Freymann host of Classical KDFC’s “The State of the Arts” sat down with Frederica “Flicka” von Stade and Jake Heggie to talk about Community Music Center’s Spring Gala. The event reunites old friends: Frederica von Stade, honoree at the CMC Gala; acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, headlining the Gala; and composer Jake Heggie, also headlining the event. DiDonato will be flying across the country the morning of the Gala after finishing her run in Cendrillon at the Met. Freymann spoke with Flicka and Jake about the enduring friendship and admiration between these world-renowned artists and their whole-hearted support of CMC’s visionary mission of free and low-cost access to music education for all people.

Listen here.

CMC Community raising money for music students at the Field Day Performathon

CMC Community raising money for music students at the Field Day Performathon

“Field Day” Performathon brings the community together through six hours of non-stop performances to raise money for CMC scholarships

Contact:
Anne C. Mitchell
Marketing Manager, Community Music Center
415-647-6015 x75
amitchell@sfcmc

For Immediate Release

SAN FRANCISCO, February 9, 2018 – Music lovers of all ages are invited to celebrate CMC’s mission of music for everyone at CMC’s second annual “Field Day”—a six-hour Performathon featuring CMC students and faculty along with an open house that includes free demo lessons, classes, an instrument petting zoo, and more. All proceeds raised by students and faculty in the Performathon benefit CMC’s tuition assistance program, which distributed more than $2M last year to students.

“Field Day is a musical celebration where our students and faculty share their love of music and their school spirit by raising money for CMC,” said Julie Rulyak Steinberg, CMC Executive Director. “It’s truly a community effort where every dollar counts towards supporting CMC’s mission of musical access in San Francisco.”

“Field Day” takes place on Sunday, March 18 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm at 544 Capp Street in the heart of the Mission. The Field Day Performathon features students of all levels and ages including Alabamajama a family string band made up CMC students and the crowd-pleasing CMC Children’s Chorus. CMC’s rich music programming will be represented at Field Day with CMC faculty leading and conducting student ensembles, such as the CMC Old-Time Music Group, the Beatles Ensemble, and the Field Day String Orchestra. The “Field Day”open house during the day invites event attendees to try out a music lesson, class, or a musical instrument in an instrument petting zoo.

“Field Day” named for CMC’s founding director Gertrude Field was launched in 2016 to honor Field’s vision of musical access for everyone. In the spirit of access, the day’s activities are free and open to the public, with donations accepted to support CMC scholarships and programs for those in financial need. For additional information or to support the event with a donation, please visit the “Field Day” website at https://sfcmc.rallybound.org/.

Founded in 1921, San Francisco’s Community Music Center (CMC) is one of the oldest and largest community arts organizations on the West Coast. CMC makes high quality music accessible to all people, regardless of financial means. Last year, CMC awarded over $2 million in tuition assistance, serving more than 2,600 students of all ages, ethnicities and income levels with music lessons, classes and other programs. Thousands enjoyed performances at CMC and out in the community. Learn more about CMC at www.sfcmc.org and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Learn more about Field Day and the Performathon on the official Field Day page, including information on registration, Pick-Up Groups, Field Day String Orchestra downloads, sheet music discounts, and more!

Photo:
Family string band, Alabamajama
Photo credit: Judy Rosenfeld

Video:

Community Music Center Announces New Executive Director

CONTACT: Anne C. Mitchell, Marketing Coordinator
Community Music Center
(415) 647-6015 x86
amitchell@sfcmc.org

 

COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER (CMC) ANNOUNCES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
New Executive Director brings an impressive array of skills and a passion for community music-making to one of San Francisco’s oldest arts organizations

San Francisco, CA (October 10, 2017) — Community Music Center, a 96-year-old Mission District-based nonprofit music school, has selected Julie Rulyak Steinberg as Executive Director after a CMC Board of Directors led national search process. Julie is CMC’s ninth Executive Director since its founding in 1921. She follows Christopher Borg, who served as Executive Director for six years.

CMC’s new Executive Director Julie Rulyak Steinberg (left) and Board President Barbara Kosner (right). Photo by Judy Rosenfeld.

“I am so excited to have Julie as our new Executive Director,” said Barbara Kosner CMC Board of Directors President. “The CMC Board was unanimous in their selection of Julie — her experience and dedication impressed all of us. Julie has spent her entire professional career in community music education, and it shows. As a musician herself, she communicates so well with all of our stakeholders — staff, faculty, board, students, and supporters. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and I am looking forward to a long and deep partnership between Julie and the Board.”

Prior to joining Community Music Center, Julie served as the Executive Director of Turtle Bay Music School in New York City. Turtle Bay Music School is founding member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education and one of the oldest and most reputable community music schools in the country. Prior to working with TBMS, Julie was the Managing Director of Cynthia Glacken Associates, a leader in nonprofit communications, strategy, and design.

“Becoming a part of CMC is one of the great honors of my life. When you walk through the doors of CMC, you can immediately feel the warmth and kindness that every member of the community exudes. Within these doors, and in our partnerships all over the city, harmonious (and sometimes cacophonous!) joy abounds. CMC is an exemplary institution providing access to every community member who seeks music and the arts as a tool of personal expression and progress, and a refuge from the pressures of everyday life. Places like CMC are rare jewels, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead CMC into its next century of service to San Francisco.”

Julie has an extensive background in fundraising and institutional advancement, and brings a wealth of experience in brand identity, strategic planning, and best practices for program development and sustainability. A sought-after expert in community arts education, Julie has served as a grant panelist for numerous organizations including the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York Times Company Foundation. She has also presented relevant topics and moderated discussions on arts education and nonprofit management at conferences and major universities throughout the United States.

Deeply committed to the expansion of community music-making, Julie trained with Third Street Music School Settlement and the National Guild for Community Arts Education while developing curriculum for a Community Music Education Master’s Degree program at New York University under the supervision of Dr. David Elliott. She is also a teacher of the Orff Schulwerk. Julie holds a B.M. and M.A. from New York University’s Steinhardt School for Culture, Education and Human Development.

About Community Music Center
Founded in 1921, San Francisco’s Community Music Center (CMC) is one of the oldest and largest community arts organizations on the West Coast. CMC makes high quality music accessible to all people, regardless of financial means. Last year, CMC awarded over $2 million in tuition assistance, serving more than 2,600 students of all ages, ethnicities and income levels with music lessons, classes and other programs. Thousands enjoyed performances at CMC and out in the community. Learn more at www.sfcmc.org and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Photo of Julie Rulyak-Steinberg
Community Music Center impact video

CMC on KDFC’s The State of the Arts

Jeffrey Freymann, host of Classical KDFC’s “The State of the Arts” visited Community Music Center’s Mission District Branch in April, and recorded this audio glimpse of CMC. Enjoy!


A look at the San Francisco Community Music Center’s branch in the mission, where students of all ages can take lessons and perform with ensembles.