Music for the heart: Medford singer hosts concerts to support the arts

McGreer sought to help musical friends facing COVID struggles

When Karen McGreer sings, she can feel the endorphins rushing to her brain.

“Music literally lights up the brain like a pinball machine,” said the therapist. “It can stimulate and excite. Or, it can relax you.

So when the hobby vocalist saw the impact COVID has had on her musical friends, she felt it deeply. As a lover of live music, McGreer knew video performances didn’t feel the same, nor did they pay the bills for some artists.

Robert Sherwood (Karen McGreer/Special to The Sun).

“It’s been devastating,” she said. “I have seen how they have suffered through COVID, without being able to earn a decent income.

McGreer vowed to support the local musicians and got to work planning an outdoor concert at her home. The first event, scheduled for May 15, will feature Robert Sherwood, a singer from Massachusetts whose music McGreer describes as “never unbeautiful.” 

Sherwood was limited in his ability to perform live, especially living in an area of the country with particularly cold winters. But he released an album, “Good Expectations,” in October 2020. 

Some performers who are really creative have somehow kept their music alive online,” McGreer noted. “But, many musicians, if they’re gig dependent, have really been in trouble.”

With lawn chairs and beverages in hand, concertgoers can settle in for an evening of song. Each chair will be socially distanced, but McGreer said she’ll set up a section where fully vaccinated people can move to the music. The $20 ticket cost will directly benefit the artists. 

McGreer intends to host more concerts as the weather warms that she hopes will lift the mood of the audience. Before the pandemic, she performed with Moorestown Singers, a women’s choral group that often sang for seniors.

“Our seniors especially have been deprived of music, but everybody misses live music,” McGreer explained. “People are so hungry for this.”

As a former nurse and current therapist, McGreer knows how music, especially performed live, can positively impact the health of performers and listeners alike.

“Music can be a mind-altering experience,” she said. “It helps the lungs, the immune system, the digestive system, the heart. The heart isn’t just a blood pumping organ.”

Several studies cited by Harvard Medical School show that music can reduce stress and symptoms of depression and potentially boost IQ.

“MY HEART NEEDS LIVE MUSIC,” McGreer wrote in a flyer for the event.

Interested in attending? The event caps at 50 audience members, but potential attendees can RSVP by emailing McGreer at KBMcGreer@verizon.net.