Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory

Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory, a wonderful project that I contributed to when they had a Kickstarter campaign is doing so well! They just won the Audience Award for U.S. Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s one of the most dramatic examples I’ve seen of how music can bring people back to life. From a review after the Sundance premiere:

Alive Inside is a pitch-perfect documentary that brilliantly explores the transformational effects of music on elders with Alzheimer’s and dementia. A savvy distributor should snap this one up; despite its apparent marketing challenges, the film is emotional, uplifting, hopeful, and action-oriented …

Director Michael Rossato-Bennett followed social worker Dan Cohen for three years, for what began as an experiment and became a crusade. Cohen, volunteering to work in a nursing home, discovered that by giving the residents iPods and allowing them to experience the music of their past, their symptoms reduced and even seemed to vanish at times. The extraordinary transformations as 90-year-olds put on headphones and suddenly light up with spirit, moving with joy in ways that seemed impossible just moments before, are among the most emotional in the film.

Grace Church, where my Choral Society performs. Scroll down for how it looked in 1846, when the Church first opened …


Before pews were installed, and lanterns hung. If you go back and forth it’s amazing how little has changed. Or, not so amazing. Why mess with something so beautiful. The glowing reredoes (the altarpiece or decoration) and altar was designed by James Renwick Jr. (who designed the Church) and executed by Ellin & Kitson in 1878. The choir furniture was built and installed in 1903.


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

2 thoughts on “Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory

  1. That is such a beautiful church!!! You are very fortunate to sing there.
    Hope all is well with you and the kitties 🙂

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