Story and photos by JENNA BAILEY
For nearly 30 years, the Beats Me Band has been performing for residents and patients at the Chautauqua Rehab & Nursing Center. The band first began as a part of a small church by the name of “A Concerned Christian Church,” by which the band also went by. The church, founded by James Campbell, is now called the First Christian Church. The name “Beats Me” came from when a reporter asked a band member the band’s name – to which he responded, “Beats Me.”
Certified Nursing Assistant Sonya Brown said that having a band come and perform at the facility is beneficial because it provides quality of life for the residents as well as helps them stay connected and maintain relationships within the community. The center wants to provide its residents with services that tie into their backgrounds. “If they went to church or they enjoyed singing and such we want to have those things available and happening so that they are able to maintain those parts of their life.” Having these services available also helps in keeping away the three plagues that often afflict the residents: boredom, loneliness and helplessness.
Over time members of the band will come and go, either from passing away or failing health, but the band regenerates and continues to put on a show for the same original purpose of providing a chance for the residents to sing and listen to their favorite music live. Typically, there are 10 members that come to perform at a time. The band performs all of the oldies such as Elvis, Bluegrass and gospel music, songs that the residents and clients will recognize. “Music is important because it stimulates the memory. They may forget a lot of things, but if you find a song that they remember from the past, they almost never forget those verses or choruses.”