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Singing your way toward good health

Most people will agree: Singing in the shower is fun and relaxing.

The same goes with singing in the car, at the grocery store and while cleaning.

A boost of energy comes from singing out loud. Taking that into consideration, Songwriting Works - a Port Townsend-based nonprofit music education organization - is bringing an internationally award-winning, evidence-based program of interactive song composition and peformance with older adults to the North Olympic Peninsula. Organizers are partnering with Arts Northwest, the Olympic Area Agency on Aging, the CARE Partnership, Critical Junctures Institute, and local senior, community and care facilities to launch the program.

Songwriting Works is one of 14 programs to receive the nation's first National Endowment for the Arts' "Creativity and Aging in America" grants. Its mission is to restore health, social interaction and spiritual well-being to individuals, their communities and the culture at large through the power of making original music.

"There is music that lives in every one of us - those who have been singing all our lives and those who have never written a song before but have opinions, life stories and imaginations," said founder Judith-Kate Friedman.

"Songwriting empowers people in a new way and gives them a voice to express themselves," Friedman said.

Kickoff events are April 2-May 25 in Port Townsend, Chimacum, Sequim and Port Angeles and include:

_"Better Living Through Songwriting" workshop, Sequim Senior Activity Center, 921 E. Hammond St., in conjunction with the Irrigation Festival, 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 1.

_ "Better Living Through Songwriting" workshop, Carrie Blake Park, in conjunction with the Irrigation Festival,

2 p.m. Saturday, May 2.

At each event, Friedman will present samplings of songs composed by elders - average age 87 - from communities around the country and speak on how creative engagement supports healthy aging.

A recent study showed that elders living independently at home - averaging age 80 - who participated in songwriting and singing experienced stabilized and improved health, Friedman said.

Both Sequim workshops are open to the public and free.

A complete list of kick-off events is available online at www.songwritingworks.org.

Ashley Miller can be reached at ashleyo@sequim gazette.com.

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