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Life is a journey: Johanna Shores' residents tell their story through song

Johanna Shores Songwriters GroupA group of Johanna Shores’ residents agree that singing together is a surefire way to make them feel good. Now they’ve discovered that writing a song together makes them feel great!

Ask Jerry and Julie Johnson, who live at The Terrace senior apartments at Johanna Shores, located in Arden Hills, MN. They and their neighbors have been attending The Songwriters’ Class hosted by Johanna Shores. "We do a lot of wonderful things here, but nothing we’ve experienced creates this much enthusiasm," said Jerry.

Through a grant awarded by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC), Johanna Shores collaborated with Community Programs in the Arts (COMPAS) to host the Songwriters’ Class for residents, staff and friends of Johanna Shores. COMPAS is nationally recognized for its creative and innovative approach to arts education in Minnesota.

The Songwriters’ Class is part of the Artful Aging™ program offered by COMPAS and is led by Charlie Maguire, a COMPAS artist who is a nationally know folksinger and songwriter. Maguire is specially trained to work alongside older adults, guiding them through fun, creative experiences that energize individuals and build community.

Maguire spent time across six 2-hour classes, singing familiar songs with the participants and drawing out their stories and experiences. As the stories unfolded, the room filled with laughter and common bonds were formed. They all agreed that life is a journey. "Charlie led us on a journey of memories that formed ideas for our new song," said Julie. "It brought such joy to everyone who participated. I’ve heard the people in this room walking down the hall humming the tune to our song," she said with a smile.

By the end of the camp, Maguire and the participants wove their memories and ideas into an original song entitled "Traveling Down an Open Road." To celebrate their creative accomplishment, they performed and recorded their song as the grand finale of the camp.

Enjoy the concert as Johanna Shores residents sing their hearts out:

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