SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Opera Saratoga is now offering an interactive music program for residents in memory care centers in the Capital Region. The opera has recently hired two singers and two pianists for its Songs by Heart program.

Musicians are trained in therapeutic techniques such as mirroring, making direct eye contact, swaying to the beat, and holding hands with residents throughout the program. Singers encourage residents to join in with singing, clapping, and moving, as well as to engage in conversation centered around the musical selections.

Music is pulled from popular music from the 1920s to 1950s and includes popular songs like “Take me out to the ball game,” “Home on the range,” “Edelweiss,” and many other popular, folk, and patriotic songs familiar to the residents.

Each of Opera Saratoga Songs by Heart artists has been trained by Songs by Heart’s artistic administrator, Emily Becker, and board-certified Music Therapist, Jenny Cook. Becker and Cook have trained about 150 musicians across the county.

Opera Saratoga is the first opera company in the nation to provide this sort of therapeutic memory care to its local community. The organization plans to start serving facilities in its seven-county service area, from south of Albany up to Lake George. This is the only Songs by Heart program in New York State.

For more information or to sign up for a demo session at a Memory Care center near you, contact Opera Saratoga’s Senior Program Manager of Education and Community Outreach, Melissa Howe, at (518) 584-6018 or mhowe@operasaratoga.org.