This afternoon, my wife took a group of boy scouts and girl scouts to a nearby assisted-living center to sing carols. I went along to play the piano for them. We had done something similar last year, with only girl scouts, and the residents had seemed to really appreciate it. This year we had been instructed to set up and perform in the memory unit, a building next to the main building where they housed residents with memory problems.

I was rather nervous about the whole thing, because even though I had worked up the music for the family sing at school, I hadn’t had the chance to go over the songs with my wife beforehand. Some of the music called for repeats that we didn’t take, some didn’t have any repeats, but we took them anyway, some needed to have intros improvised. There was certainly the potential for mischief, if not disaster.

My wife didn’t seem to take my concerns seriously. I tried to get her to commit to a song order, or to tell me how many times to play certain verses, to no avail. I became even more concerned that I would embarrass myself. Finally, with some exasperation, she said “Even if we screw it up completely, these are Alzheimer patients. They won’t remember it.”