Music For Seniors Media


Sarah Martin McConnell, Executive Director

Sarah founded Music for Seniors in July, 2007. Under her leadership, her original concept, to enlist area musicians for live music outreach to older adults, has grown into a thriving 501(c)3 arts non-profit organization. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Texas, Austin, Sarah earned her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in 1974. She earned a Master of Science, Social Work degree from the University of Tennessee, Nashville, in 1999. A professional musician, singer and songwriter since 1976, Sarah's accomplishments include solo performer as well as lead vocalist with various jazz and pop bands performing in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Nashville. She garnered national commercial credits as jingle singer and SAG/Aftra actress and was twice featured as a "New Folk Artist" at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas. Sarah's songwriting credits include: Must I Fall (Walter Hyatt, "Music Town," Sugar Hill Records) and The Standoff and Reach for Me (Walter Hyatt, "Some Unfinished Business," King Tears Music). In 1984, she founded the for-profit company, The Caroling Troubadours, furnishing distinctive seasonal entertainment to retailers, hotels, corporations and private parties and at one time operating in four cities, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Nashville. As an independent contractor paralegal from 1986 through 2011, Sarah performed legal support work encompassing a wide variety of duties for firms in Dallas, Houston and Nashville, including the Nashville firms Neal & Harwell, Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin, Baker Donelson and HCA Corporation. Between 1997 and 1999, Sarah worked as the first Program Director for Magdalene, directing day-to-day operations and program development and implementation for this Nashville non-profit which houses and serves women in recovery. In 2004, Sarah was certified as a Rule 31 Family Mediator.

In August, 2005, Hurricane Katrina blew Sarah's 84-year-old mother, Marge, (then recently diagnosed with mid-stage Alzheimer's) from the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Nashville, changing forever the course of Sarah's personal and professional life by inspiring the launch of Music for Seniors.

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Matt Bridges, Program Director

Matt is Music for Seniors' newest staff member. A Nashville-area native, he joined us in 2013 as a performer. Matt offers a unique, handson and interactive "Rhythm Session" program which he facilitates for communities throughout Tennessee, including for children and adults with intellectual and developmental challenges. Focusing on the universal concept of natural rhythms in our everyday lives, participants play percussive instruments from around the world. Matt holds a B.A. in Counseling and Human Services from Lindsey Wilson College, Columbia, Kentucky, completing internships with Alzheimers Association of Middle Tennessee and Elmcroft Senior Living, in Lebanon, Tennessee.

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Performer Spotlight: Kyshona Armstrong

Kyshona Armstrong

Kyshona Armstrong is a popular Music for Seniors' performer with a natural gift for using music to tap emotions. That emotional intelligence helps create her unique bluesy and soulful style. Kyshona's latest album, "Go," shows off vocal stylings reminiscent of Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Al Green. She has three independent releases under her belt: 2008's EP "Music;" 2011's EP "Home Again;" and her 2014 crowdfunded full-length album, "Go."


-) How long have you been working with Music For Seniors?

I’ve been working with Music for Seniors for about 6 months now.

-) How does performing for seniors groups differ from more "traditional" audiences?

I find that performing for seniors is more interactive. I prefer to walk around and share space with the audience members and incorporate them more into the music. I also don’t have a set list of songs prepared to perform for the seniors. I trust and go where ever our conversations may lead us as we reminisce from song to song.

-) What are your favorite songs/styles to perform for senior communities?

It depends on the demographic of the group! I love performing old folk and country songs, but REALLY enjoy the days that I get to play more Motown, blues and gospel. Those are the songs I grew up with.

-) Share with us some of your musical inspirations for what you do.

Before I moved to Nashville I was a contract music therapist for nursing homes in the greater Atlanta/Athens GA area. It was necessary for me to know the music of all genres through multiple decades. My inspiration for what I do comes, simply, from the people I am playing for. If I start the hour off with a song that inspires a member of the group to talk about their first time to see a Broadway musical, then I will play other Broadway show tunes to get the group interacting with one another. I choose the songs I perform based on where the group leads me.

-) If you were stuck on an island, and you magically had electricity, what 5 CDs would just have to have?

OH! Hard question! I would have to have: Young Man in America - Anais Mitchell; Days Are Gone - Haim; Forever Young, Gifted and Black: Songs of Freedom and Spirit - Nina Simone; Bold Soul Sister: The Best of the Blue Thumb Recordings - Ike & Tina; And any album of Eva Cassidy’s

-) Of all the venues you've played, (outside of senior communities), what is one of your favorites?

One of my favorite places to play is Hendershot’s Coffee Bar in Athens, GA. The venue always feels like home and the crowd is always loving and ready to dance. It’s a family-friendly venue that is highly involved in the framework of the community and run by a touring musician.