A Place To Create
If you ask Gale Smith to describe her favorite type of music, she’ll tell you, “It’s the kind you just can’t sit still to.” Whenever there’s entertainment at St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus, she’s usually the first one on the dance floor.
A client in the new dementia care wing, Gale grew up immersed in music. “I learned to play the violin when I was young,” she said. “As a teenager, I was part of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra.” Nowadays, the friendly 63-year-old still treasures her polished wood violin. When she glides the bow across its strings, she beams.
Life hasn’t been easy for Gale. Challenged by health and cognitive issues, she enrolled in St. Ann Center’s adult day care program three years ago. Her sister Teresa, who works for the Milwaukee County Department on Aging, thinks it’s a perfect fit. “I appreciate the umbrella of services,” she said, citing the convenience of having a medical and dental clinic, beauty salon, warm-water pool and massage therapy under one roof.
“We both love the African-inspired décor,” Teresa added. “Gale is very culturally aware—and heritage is important to her.” A fan of African dance, Gale is a former member of Milwaukee’s Kho-Thi Dance Company. The rhythms and steps are still ingrained in her body. “Whenever African drummers perform here,” she said with a smile. “I have to get up and dance.”
Gale is quick to share her love for all things musical with others. Her fellow clients enjoy her impromptu violin concerts. And the childcare kids love to mirror her West African dance moves. “Those little ones are so agile, they pick it right up,” she said.
Teresa is happy that her artistic sister has a place where she can socialize, make friends and stimulate her mind instead of staying home and watching TV. As Gale puts it, “This place restores my soul.”