Bringing music to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.


Background Information

Throughout his entire life, music has been such a big part of Mikey Marcus’s identity. He has been singing since birth both formally and informally, and two years ago, he joined LumeNAtion, a high school a capella group. As he has started to sing with more and more groups, his appreciation for performing and listening to music has only grown. When given the tools to create a project to give back, he immediately knew he wanted to do something with music. After doing some research and learning about various other communities near him, he decided that he wanted to do a student concert series at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in New Jersey.

Mikey’s goal with this project was to provide the residents at these facilities with an enjoyable experience that would give bring them back and make them feel at home again. However, his motivations for creating this project were not just related to general wellness but to health as well. Through his project, he also intended to use music to improve the lives of senior citizens with Alzheimer’s and other memory-loss disorders, a majority of the residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

“I remember one time, after a choral performance in 8th grade, I simply was not able to stop smiling for the entire day because of the incredible way that music makes me feel.” – Mikey Marcus

Implementation of the Project

Upon returning to New Jersey from his fall semester at Alzar School, Mikey was very motivated to implement his project. He organized some of his friends together to form his action team and began to get in contact with some of the nursing homes in his area.  At the first meeting with his action team, he worked with the volunteers to assign roles and duties for each of them.  Some people were assigned to fundraising, some to communicating with the nursing homes, and some to working with the performers. From there, his action team organized instrumentalists and singers to perform, which was the most difficult part of the process as most people were either not interested or unavailable.  The use of high schoolers to be the performers was quite challenging for Mikey because many of them were not as organized with their plans, which made scheduling the concert complicated. However, working with the nursing homes was easy for Mikey due to the preparedness and helpfulness of all of the staff.

“Although there were challenges along the way, we were still able to accomplish our goal and put on enjoyable performances for all of the residents through the hard work of some really dedicated friends and nursing home staff members.” – Mikey Marcus

Results of the Project

So far, upBEATS has been a huge success for Mikey Marcus and his team. After over 20 hours of work both with the action team and individually, Mikey was ready to put his project into action. The concert that took place spread joy to over 15 residents at CareOne Assisted Living Facility in Livingston, New Jersey.  At this first concert, there were three 10th grade singers and pianists who performed a wide range of older and more modern songs that they thought the residents would enjoy. Currently, the action team is talking to other nursing homes in the area to find the best location for the next concert.

“Being able to see the pure joy of the residents during the concert and listening to their wonderful feedback made all of my hard work worth it.” – Mikey Marcus

What’s Next?

As a sophomore at Newark Academy, Mikey feels very fortunate to still have two more years to work on his project before he leaves for college. At the point, he hopes that upBEATS is a strong enough program that he will be able to pass it down to a younger student. Looking at the nearer future, he hopes to have at least five more concerts by the end of 2019. He is also looking to expand to other new nursing homes, work with students from schools other than his own, and possibly incorporate other performing arts, such as dance.

“Being able to pass on my project would be a true testament to my hard work and would show me that I have started something valuable that is worth continuing.” – Mikey Marcus