Music is pathway to memory for elderly | Local News

HOPKINTON – Judy Hall Gray likes keeping to a rhythm; whether working her farm in Canonchet, worshipping at the church she loves, or bringing smiles to the faces of those who come to hear her perform show tunes and standards at various locales around New England.

“I learned how to sing a day after I learned how to talk,” she laughs. “My mother was always playing music around the house.”

When she was in her early twenties, Gray put together her first band and began playing in front of audiences. “We played variety. My boyfriend was the guitar player. We were pretty pitiful. We did carnivals and things like that.” 

As Gray’s talent evolved, so did the quality of her venues. She began singing at clubs and being hired to entertain at functions such as weddings. However, she’s since traded in that life to sing regularly at nursing homes. “There’s no smoke, no staying up until 2 a.m. And I love old people. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have grandparents around much as a kid. I believe God uses the songs and my smile to touch things you can’t touch without it. The songs they remember, you can see in their face immediately. Music is powerful.”

Gray is now scheduled to perform at the BBQ Fundraiser for the Connecticut Chapter’s Alzheimer’s Association. The cause is one close to her heart. “My grandmother had Alzheimer’s for ten years before she passed,” she says.

The event, to be held at Masonicare, located at 45 Clara Drive in Mystic, Ct., will take place from 11:30 until 2:30 on September 23 with a rain-date of September 24. In addition to music by Gray, face-painting for children and other fun inclusions, a huge menu will be prepared by specialty chefs; hamburgers, cheeseburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, assorted toppings, chicken, ribs, baked beans, cole slaw, corn on the cob, potato salad,…

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