Dozens of Royal Megansett residents say they wouldn’t miss it. The volunteers say the same thing. It’s the activity highlight of the week at a nursing facility known for its enriching activity schedule: the weekly appearance of entertainer Eddie Scheer on the piano, and the singing and dancing volunteers who proudly call themselves “The Scheerettes.”
Some of them are older than the residents themselves, but music feeds the soul, and everyone –residents and volunteers alike – gets fed at these weekly music fests.
“It’s my best day of the week,” says volunteer Margie Marshall. “Where else can you go where everybody loves you?”
The feeling is mutual. Many of the folks leading the singing have a personal connection to the five-star North Falmouth nursing and retirement home, starting with Eddie Scheer himself. Scheer first came to Royal Megansett in the mid 90’s to play for his mother, who lived here before she passed away six years ago. A scientist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute when he’s not entertaining, Eddie continues to make a regular stop at Megansett.
“They’re a captive audience,” laughs Eddie about the weekly crowd which gathers on the top floor of the stately facility, many of whom are in wheelchairs. “People get excited, they tap their fingers, and many sing along. I do it for them, but I’m doing it for my mother, too.”
The “Scheerettes” idea began with West Falmouth’s June Atwood, whose husband Joe lived at Megansett. June heard about the great music being played upstairs, and with a natural instinct to get the residents more involved she began playing the role of cheerleader during Eddie’s musical programs. June’s friend Margie Marshall was the first recruit, and others followed. Joe Atwood died two years ago, but June continued to come to Megansett every Tuesday, and now it’s not unusual to see ten volunteers at the front of the room entertaining residents and staff alike with their singing voices and a gentle hand reached out to the residents in friendship.
Ninety one year-old Bill Irving’s wife lived at Megansett. Bill fills in the harmony, having sung with the Boston Pops back in the day when Arthur Fiedler wielded the baton for the famous orchestra. Seventy five year-old Nancy Achin was widowed not long ago after 51 years of marriage. Her husband was never a resident, but she comes, as well.
“We lead exercises to some of the songs, but we’re the ones getting most of the exercise,” says June Atwood with a smile. “We’re all exhausted by the end of the hour, but we all feel a lot better going downstairs after the session than we did going up.”
Royal Megansett Activities Director Christine Foisy says it’s satisfying to know how many residents call Tuesdays their “favorite day of the week.”
“People look forward to Eddie’s visits. Some of our residents change their therapy times, just to make sure they are free to come upstairs and enjoy the music! It’s amazing to see the effect music can have on people. The residents remember the lyrics to the old songs; some of these people don’t even talk, but they will mouth the words to the songs.”
Royal Megansett chaplain, Reverend Lois Rycroft was there for Tuesday’s sing-along as well, and perhaps she summed it up best.
“Music brings healing to our souls.”
Every Tuesday, with Eddie Scheer and the Scheerettes at Royal Megansett.