By Kristin Boza
You may be familiar with the GraceNotes, a group has played many events in Beverly/Morgan Park (and the surrounding suburbs) over the last ten years, including the 95th Street Farmers’ Market, the Beverly Art Walk, and events at Little Company of Mary Hospital. What started as a group of Lesson Factory music students coming together to practice has turned into a group with aspirations to hone their craft and bring musical joy to their audiences — all while becoming great friends in the process.
The core six members of the group are Tina Gluschenko (vocals, tin whistle), Colleen Healy (banjo, bodhran), Diane Lofquist (hammered dulcimer), Susan McCarthy (guitar, arrangements, booking contact), Joan Radtke (violin) and Kathleen Tangel (accordian).
“The name GraceNotes was selected because, musically, a grace note is a type of ornamentation used in Celtic-style music, and ‘grace’ refers to our early performances and association with two Beverly churches,” said McCarthy. “The band is a hobby for us, but one that contributes in a special way in each of our lives.”
While the band is often seen around the neighborhood, there is a very special group of listeners that they love to play for, people in the hospital or other long-term care facility.
“[It’s in hospitals] where you see the true power and magic of music,” said Gluschenko. “When nurses tell you that someone who hasn’t come to any social events or who has been depressed came out of their room to listen . . . it’s powerful and rewarding to play in these environments.”
Radtke agrees. “Listening to them sing their hearts out to a tune they knew in their youth is precious,” she said. And, just as often, the GraceNotes are touched just as deeply as the patients and elderly people in the audience. “The music uniquely touches and heals each of us as performers and helps us escape, too,” said Lofquist.
After performing in more than 100 settings, the band has its repertoire set down. From sing-a-longs to Celtic music to Christmas tunes, the band is able to ensure their audience is engaged and in the spirit. “Our unique sound comes from the blend of instruments, the interweaving of parts, and our enthusiasm for sharing music with lovely audiences,” McCarthy said.
“I am grateful for each and every opportunity to share the gift of music,” Healy said. “I believe music uniquely touches the emotional life of each audience member and enables the audience to escape from their everyday circumstances for a short time. That’s powerful healing!”
The group noted that the best compliment they ever received was from a caregiver who said “You guys were great, no one fell asleep!”
Clearly, the impact of this musical group has gone far to bring some moments of joy to everyone they play for.
To book or attend a performance, follow the GraceNotes at Facebook.com/GraceNotesJam.