Ode to Joy

April 3, 2019

By Margherita Firenze ‘19 and Maria Grant ‘19
Article originally appearing in The Park Tudor Times Online

For the past three semesters, Ode to Joy has brought the joy of music to the guests at Joy’s House, which is a day care facility for adults with mental or physical disabilities located in Broad Ripple.

Ode to Joy is an iBlock course led by seniors Margherita Firenze and Maria Grant and sponsored by Mrs. Lorelei Farlow with assistance from Mrs. Lili Helmuth. Currently, the members include cellists, guitarists, pianists, violinists, and vocalists who all share a passion for music and a belief in the positive impact it can create in all of us.

Our group has especially enjoyed playing tunes of the Beatles, John Denver, and Elvis Presley, along with popular hymns and folk tunes that guests might recognize, sing, and clap along to. Last spring we wrote our own lyrics to go with Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” melody to express our friendship with our appreciative audience. For the winter holiday-themed visit, Mrs. Nie provided some maracas and bells, which were passed out to the audience so they could get into the festive spirit and participate with us in making music with instruments. To add to the holiday spirit, our PT Renaissance Ensemble joined our Ode to Joy group to bring holiday tunes to a caregiver appreciation event.

After each performance, our group spends time conversing with the guests and taking requests. For one guest of Irish heritage, we included Irish fiddle tunes played wonderfully by Alex Woods. We sang iconic Spanish songs like “La Bamba” for another woman. Many have specifically requested spirituals. One man asked for Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” We students were particularly touched to see our blind friend, Lorena, stand up and passionately sing along with us on one of her favorite songs, “Country Roads.”

Ode to Joy is looking forward to another year of sharing our music. We alternate Wednesday afternoons – first to rehearse in the orchestra room, next, to perform for Joy’s House guests. We would love for any musicians to join us, especially singers! Come share your passion!