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Pandemic milestone: Summit Music plays 100 concerts for 15 different senior communities

1May 2021

It’s been just over a year since the pandemic pushed Summit Music’s concerts for seniors outdoors. Since April 2020, Violinist Natalie VanBurkleo-Carbonara, who is founder and director of Summit Music, and other musicians have been performing outside for seniors.

VanBurkleo-Carbonara reported last week that the organization reached the 100-concert milestone. “During a year when most arts organizations shut down performances, it feels really special that this was created, continued through the winter months and reached 100 concerts. We are now doing concerts at 15 different senior communities on a regular basis and have started to branch out to reach communities outside of the metro area as well.”

VanBurkleo-Carbonara said 21 professional musicians have been a part of the concerts. The Twin Cities Musicians Union helped to get funding from the national organization Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF), which sponsored three of the professional musicians who perform regularly with Summit Music, she said.

In a Pioneer Press story in mid-November when VanBurkleo-Carbonara played patriotic music outdoors for St. Paul nursing home residents, she said: “We have witnessed it all: senior residents crying on balconies those first several weeks in April and May, dancing on balconies with spouses, residents waving flags, moving to the music, yelling bravo, shouting from balconies about being quarantined for two weeks, yelling down about loved ones who have passed or anniversaries being celebrated.”

Summit Music started in 2011 as a music series at St. Paul’s On-the-Hill Episcopal church. It’s no longer a music series, says VanBurkleo-Carbonara, and now focuses on music outreach in senior communities and work with music students. VanBurkleo-Carbonara and her husband are music instructors.

“Some of the senior communities that we serve are now inviting musicians to come inside to perform,” said VanBurkleo-Carbonara. “Moving forward, we will offer our indoor more formal concerts again and also continue the Parking Lot Concerts for Seniors.”

For information, go to summitmusicseries.com.


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Author: Kathy Berdan

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