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Local senior living community teams up with Lee University

CONTRIBUTED – In fulfilling the commitment to promote good health, mental stimulation, and social engagement for its residents during the pandemic, Sycamore Springs Senior Living Community and its sister facilities across the Southeast have teamed up with Lee University to enroll 250 seniors in a virtual arts learning program hosted by Artist-in-Residence Maestro Bob Bernhardt.
 In weekly webinars streamed every Friday in October, Maestro Bernhardt, artist-in-residence at Lee University and Principal Pops Conductor of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, explores and discusses pieces of music from the middle ages to the modern-day and dives into how they can ignite emotions in listeners.
 Titled “Pandemic Playlist,” these virtual classes feature Maestro Bernhardt talking about and playing excerpts from classical and film music that has helped him navigate these uncharted waters. Each online session features the music of reflection, gratitude, joy, and triumph, the music of all kinds that both soothes and enriches the spirit.
 “Before the pandemic, Sycamore Springs Senior Living residents enjoyed outings and field trips; however, with the increased precautions our facility has taken due to COVID-19, it is important to us to find engaging activities for our residents. We’ve had to really diversify activities to ensure interesting, fulfilling, and safe experiences are available to our residents. This collaboration between Lee University and Legacy Senior Living’s network of facilities, Encore has been wonderful for our residents. They love it because it offers fun, creativity, and a true treat for the senses in the form of Maestro Bernhardt’s music discussions,” said Rhonda Mitchell, Executive Director for Sycamore Springs Senior Living Community. 
 “Programs like this are much more than a leisure activity for our residents. This type of engagement is a very positive factor in promoting good health for seniors. The social and cognitive engagement help keep their minds working and staying sharp, which is of course essential in the aging process,” said Barry Ray, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Legacy Senior Living, which manages Sycamore Springs Senior Living Community.
 Of the approximately 500 students enrolled in the Encore program this semester, 250 are residents of Sycamore Springs Senior Living Community and its sister facilities across the Legacy Senior Living network in five Southeastern states. Legacy Senior Living has covered the $25 enrollment fee for each resident who wished to enroll. 
 “Lee University has done an outstanding job of adapting to virtual programming during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re beyond grateful for the opportunity to provide our residents with this enriching experience in the arts,” said Mitchell. 
 Each student, including Sycamore Springs Senior Living Community enrollees, will have the opportunity to participate in a graduation ceremony in November to celebrate the knowledge gained throughout the course.