A Giraffe's been sighted in your territory!
The Giraffe Project , a national non-profit organization, has commended Bob Rowe for sticking his neck out for the common good.

The crowd is fidgety with anticipation. The tall, lanky singer strolls in and begins singing "Oh, Lord It's Hard to Be Humble" and the crowd goes wild. Well as wild as people in wheelchairs, on walkers or canes--median age: 83--may get. They smile, clap their hands, and tap their toes. Many are remarkably transformed. One was a man who hadn't spoken a word to anyone for years. When Bob Rowe, musician extraordinaire started singing, the long-silent, elderly man began to sing and according to the nursing home staff, hasn't stop talking since.

Rowe founded a non-profit, volunteer artists' group in 1988. Its mission is to bring the arts to residents of nursing homes and other care facilities, including homes for veterans and the developmentally disabled, across the country. Over the years, Rowe and other volunteer musicians and artists have presented over hundreds of programs nationwide.

Rowe, who taught himself the guitar at age 16, credits two vivacious grandmothers for making him feel so comfortable with and connected to the elderly.

Rowe sings and plays hymns, patriotic tunes, folk songs, pop music from the 20's and 30's, and contemporary country. In recruiting other musicians he looks for those with "a real touch and a real contact" with the audience. The program has drawn well-known artists and has earned endorsements from Leo Buscaglia, President Clinton and Mother Teresa, who urged Rowe to "continue to use music to make the presence of God--his love and his compassion--better known to those most in need."

Like Mother Teresa, Rowe believes that people are both spirit and body, and while nursing homes usually do a good job of meeting residents' physical needs, on a spiritual level residents are "withering away."Renaissance performances not only transform residents, but artists as well. "Renaissance brings the energy of youth to the audience and brings the lessons of aging to the performers," sans Rowe. "It's not just a musical performance, it's a time of education, a time of communciation."

Rowe has recorded a CD, "Coming Home Again," and hopes proceeds will enable the organization to become financially independent. "Nobody's going to benefit financially from this except the elderly," says Rowe. "I would be a hypocrite if I didn't back up my words with my own life...It's risky; sometimes it's scary, but I think its even scarier to do something mediocre." "Commercial rewards can be wiped out in a minute. But no one can ever take away spiritual rewards."

 

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Last modified: 09/28/14