In 2015, CCM and Twin Towers partnered to create a new artist-in-residence program, which provided two CCM graduate students with free housing as they lived and performed in the senior living community. The program provides students with an immersive learning experience while bringing new musical talents to the Twin Towers residents.
It began as an experiment, said Twin Towers Executive Director Jim Lay, and after a successful first year, the program doubled to embed two more graduate students in the community. The four student artists reside on one of the Twin Towers campuses as they work complete their graduate degrees at CCM. They perform one recital per month and socialize with the community’s residents throughout the year in discussions and open rehearsals.
“None of us imagined the level and depth of mutual connection and personal relationships that have emerged between these individuals of different generations, nor did we imagine the potential impact that this relationship has had on the energy and vitality within our Twin Towers community,” Lay said.
The program’s inaugural artists-in-residence were second-year Master of Music students soprano Annie Barr and collaborative pianist Alyssa Griffith. This year, they are joined by harpist Anna Odell and jazz studies major Angie Coyle, both are first-year Master of Music students at CCM.
Annie Barr remembers how supportive the Twin Towers residents were during the first year of the program and said she loved performing in front of such an encouraging audience, which usually included around 200 residents.
“Making someone else’s day brighter with music makes my day,” she said. “I talk to many of the residents most days, simply from walking on community grounds or practicing in the main lounge. I’ve learned a lot about their lives and in return they’ve learned about my life as a musician.”
The two new artists-in-residence, Anna Odell and Angie Coyle, moved in to their new homes in August and were quickly invited to a welcome “block party” to meet their Twin Towers neighbors.
“When I first heard about Twin Towers, I loved the idea of automatically having ‘150 grandparents,’ “Odell said. “Living at Twin Towers has been amazing. The community is so kind and welcoming; I felt at home right as soon as I moved in.”
The program offers her a valuable opportunity to improve performance skills in monthly recitals for the residents, she said. “Performing is a skill that definitely takes practice and gets easier the more you do it, so playing at Twin Towers is a great atmosphere in which to fine-tune that skill.”
Angie Coyle added: “This program makes it easier for us to focus on our studies by helping with the financial burden and it also gives us a chance to be somewhere that our music is truly appreciated. It is nice to see people so grateful for us being here and sharing our music with them.”
All four artists-in-residence performed at Twin Towers for the first time this year on Thursday, Sept. 15, in a “meet and greet” concert for the senior living community. They will also perform short, 30-minute concerts as part of “Twin Towers Day” at the CiTiRAMA home showing event in College Hill on Friday, Sept. 16.
On October 14, the students will perform in the Twin Towers “A Musical Feast” fundraising concert. Event details for “A Musical Feast” will be available on the Twin Towers website within the month.
“When you attend an evening concert, it is inspiring to see the genuine affection shared between those who perform and their audience of neighbors and dear friends,” Jim Lay said. “I cannot envision a future at Twin Towers that would not include these beloved artists.”
About the Twin Towers Senior Living Community
Located on Hamilton Avenue between Cincinnati’s Northside and College Hill neighborhoods, Twin Towers is committed to enhancing adult lifestyles through a philosophy of whole-person wellness. Specializing in both residential and assisted living, the community consists of patio and apartment homes throughout their Towers, Greeno, North and Parkview areas. Twin Towers provides a full neighborhood experience including an extensive dining area, full gym and pool, and multiple other locations for residents to meet, interact and partake in the arts.
Twin Towers is owned and operated by Loveland-based Life Enriching Communities, Inc. (LEC), a private not-for-profit corporation, offering an integrated family of lifestyle communities and senior living services in greater Cincinnati. Best known for their Twin Towers and Twin Lakes senior living communities, they deliver exceptional everyday experiences to everyone they serve. With a focus on quality living options and healthcare services, and a commitment to whole-person wellness, LEC has become one of the area’s leading senior living providers. Life Enriching Communities is affiliated with the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church and welcomes people of all faiths. For more information, please visit http://www.lec.org.