ABOUT MUSIC MEMORIES AUSTIN
After years of performing at retirement homes and seeing a need for more music interaction, Edie Elkjer and Susie Higley, created Music Memories Austin, a program that is dedicated to providing specially designed musical workshops that spark conversation, enjoyment, laughter, movement, joy and a sense of community for those in memory care, retirement, nursing care, and Alzheimer’s facilities. Through song sets and themes such as campfire songs, musicals, patriotic music, songs of the '20s, '30s, etc. Music Memories Austin, a charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has found much success with this program.
With the support of donors and St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Music Memories Austin began the Love Notes Chorus, Austin's first choir for those with early-stage memory loss and their care partners. To join the chorus, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
"We have seen the retirement, nursing home, and memory care residents come alive!" "They laugh, they share their experiences, they sing, at times they get up and move, and they leave each workshop with smiles on their faces." "Research has shown that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function." "The participants tell us that singing makes them feel better and often share that the workshops are medicine for the soul!"
MEET Edie and Susie
Edie directed River City Pops, an Austin community show choir, from 1988-2000. You can still catch some of the shows she directed on KLRU public television! She also directed a jazz choir at McCallum High School for three years. Edie earned her Master’s Degree in Applied Voice from the University of South Dakota. In her earlier years, she entertained audiences at Six Flags Over Georgia and Texas, the Houston Windmill Dinner Theater, and both the Dallas and Denver Country Dinner Playhouses. While teaching music at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, she wrote and produced five original children’s musicals with a friend, Judy Beglau. She also performed and toured with the professional musical comedy troupes, Union Scale and Broadway Express, for over 20 years. She presently teaches private voice lessons and sings with "Take 5," a group of five performers who sing an eclectic blend of tunes from the past and present with rich vocal harmonies and stylish arrangements.
In addition, Edie conducts The Women of Heartsong, a local choir of women whose mission is to provide music to retirement communities in the Austin area.
Susie has been performing in Austin's musical theatre scene since 1967. A University of Texas graduate with degrees in Elementary Education and English, she has spent much of her life in front of audiences including scores of children in the Austin, San Antonio, and Lake Travis schools. Having grown up in a family that loved to sing around the grand piano with her grandmother, a pianist who played the musical scores for silent movies, Susie learned the music of four generations. She has taught exercise classes for seniors at Austin's YMCA, YWCA, The Hills Fitness Center, and various private corporations around Austin. Though retired from teaching in public schools, she continues to work for various schools privately and tutors children from Austin to Round Rock.
When she is not singing with Edie and the residents at various nursing homes, Alzheimer's facilities, memory care units, or retirement homes, she can be found singing with The Women of Heartsong, walking the trails of Austin, swimming at Deep Eddy, editing books for friends, traveling, and enjoying time with her family and friends.