Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra

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S.B. Chamber Orchestra Launches Program to Study Cognitive Benefits of Classical Music

The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra (SBCO) has launched “Classical Connections,” an innovative program to study the therapeutic benefits of classical music for individuals suffering cognitive or neurological impairment. Among other things, the four-week program will involve chamber music performances for elderly dementia patients by SBCO musicians. Music therapist Lori Sunshine will oversee an analysis of observable changes in cognitive function among audience members. The effort’s inaugural session took place today at Santa Barbara’s Friendship Center Adult Day Care, which is a project collaborator.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that music therapy can promote memory recall and improve emotional health among dementia patients,” said Chamber Orchestra Executive Director Kevin A. Marvin. “We see this as a vitally important community outreach program, and plan to expand it as soon as time and resources allow.”

Classical Connections is generously supported by Union Bank, the James S. Bower Foundation, and the Williams-Corbett Foundation.

A board certified music therapist for more than 35 years, Ms. Sunshine currently works with Livingston Memorial Hospice and St. John’s Regional Medical Center, both in Ventura County. She also has practiced in Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico, and Europe.