CD Audio Recording
Shadow and Light; an Alzheimer’s Journey in 16 movements by Joan Szymko
Concert video and video documentary: The Story of Shadow and Light; Giving Voice to an Alzheimer’s Journey
Sarah Joanne Davis,
Shadow & Light – The story behind the work
The Eugene Concert Choir, under the direction of Dr. Diane Retallack, commissioned a unique choral-orchestral work on the subject of memory loss, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Nationally recognized Oregon composer Joan Szymko was selected to undertake this significant project. Szymko gathered personal stories from those afflicted and caregivers, and was both emotionally and creatively impacted by the intimate narratives regarding the challenges, frustrations, despair, hopes, courage, determination, acceptance, and moments of light and tenderness. She worked tirelessly for over a year to translate the stories she collected into music.
Artistic Director Diane Retallack possesses an intimate understanding of the subject matter, through experiences with her mother and grandmother, both of whom had Alzheimer’s. Her desire was to create an artistic work with beauty, sensitivity and dignity, and to provide an artistic outlet for shared experience and catharsis for musicians and audience alike. Performance reviews indicate that this goal was achieved: “poignant, stirring, heartbreaking, unforgettable, cinematic, lush, enjoyable, offers hope, purity of connection between people who simply love each other even if they can’t remember who, what, where or why. This piece should be played everywhere.”
Winner of the American Prize for recorded performance,
Community Division 2016
Dementia Spring Features
Shadow & Light
Dementia Spring supports artists and arts organizations who raise awareness about dementia and inspire creativity in people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Here is their featured interview with Artistic Director and Conductor, Diane Retallack.
To read the full article on on Shadow & Light:
This project is made possible by The Fred W. Fields Fund Creative Heights Initiative of the Oregon Community Foundation and by the Oregon Cultural Trust with additional support from the Chambers Family Foundation.