Art of Aging: Grateful Alive band

DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. -- Grateful Alive is an all-volunteer band of musicians who perform at area senior centers, nursing homes and veterans hospitals.

Anita Alexander is a singer and violinist with Grateful Alive.

She says, "It makes you feel so good that they're enjoying the music and to be a part of that, it just does something to you. It encourages you to keep going. That's what it does for me."

They play only old tunes, nothing after 1948.

"Makes me remember my good life that I had growing up," said 97-year-old Evelyn Hopkins.

And, they are a diverse group of retirees.

Mary Aldworth, the coordinator & keyboardist for Grateful Alive said, "We have a rabbi, we have a lawyer, we have an engineer, we have several teachers."

"I think it's the holiest work I've ever done, but my presence shows them that somebody cares. " said Rabbi Sue Greenberg of Grateful Alive.

Saxophonist Tom Chambers joined Grateful Alive last year.

It was the first time he'd pick up the horn in 58 years.

"I find it totally satisfying to participate not just with the band, but with the audience members. To see the smiles on their faces and the joy they get out of it is a joy to me also," said Tom.

Resident Robert Carpenter said, "Oh it's great. Brings back memories, the good old days."

Grateful Alive formed 20-years-ago.

Rabbi Greenberg said, "I'm about to turn eighty, and I'm probably one of the youngest members of the group."

Though the members change, their philosophy stays the same.

Anne Renzi, a resident said, "Even though you get older, you can still function. They're playing all them instruments, they're singing. They're making us feel alive, and I'm grateful to be alive, and I thank God I'm alive!"

For more stories and information about seniors, visit the Art of Aging section.