You don’t always know where life will take you. You just know you’re in for an adventure!
It was just such an adventure that led Nancy Perrin to Tomorrowland and then back to her musical beginnings.
“I’ve always had a music background,” Nancy says. “I started in the second grade with piano. By high school I had also gotten into glee club, a singing group and stage band.”
But for much of Nancy’s adult career, music took a back seat. She enjoyed being a recreation center director for many years before landing a dream job at Disneyland in Southern California.
At Disneyland she was assistant manager of Tomorrowland attractions and then moved to Disney California Adventure Park, managing both the Hollywood and half of the Golden State areas – overseeing more than 300 people. “I ended up earning the Golden Spirit Award, which at the time was the highest award you could earn at Disneyland.”
Even one of the cars in Autopia sports Nancy’s initials. But after many years, the traffic and long hours prompted Nancy to take a job as an activities director at an assisted living facility.
“I did that for a couple of years until I found out I have rheumatoid arthritis and couldn’t work full time anymore.”
A Musical Direction
“When I found out I couldn’t work full time, I thought of going back to music, which is my roots,” Nancy says. “Ultimately that’s what got me into Nancy’s Great Day Musical Experience.”
With the business, Nancy worked with area assisted living facilities to provide residents with musical enrichment and music therapy.
“I’d bring rhythm instruments in, and I’d have them sing along with it,” she explains. “I’d talk about the back story of the song, what was happening during that time, movies that were out during that time or [details about] the singer.”
Nancy also started a hand bell choir, which she adapted so that people with sight and hearing impairments could participate.
“We would go and perform at other assisted living facilities. They got so much joy out of that. It was incredible. You had 85-year-old people who were giving back and feeling like they were making a difference and that they were still relevant to life.”
Nancy feels music is good for people of all ages and can improve everything from mood to memory.
She offers an example of one time when she was in a ward for patients with severe dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. “I was playing some 50s music – a dance tune called ‘Sh-Boom.’ I heard commotion behind me, and I saw them up and dancing, including a guy in a wheelchair. When I ended the song, they were all talking about a dance hall in Los Angeles that was big in the 1940s and 50s.”
After a recent move to Texas, Nancy is teaching piano lessons while she updates her home and yard. When she’s not teaching or playing music, she enjoys walking and traveling with her husband and her two shelter dogs, Daisy and CiCi. “They are the love of my life,” she says. “Shelter dogs just give you so much in return that it’s incredible.”
Nancy wishes she had started her musical experience business even earlier in life, a dual message to follow your dreams and that it’s never too late to seize the day! GO LONG®
20 surprising, science-backed health benefits of music – USAToday.com
For Elders With Dementia, Musical Awakenings – NPR.org