Margie Newman has lived at Paul’s Run for over ten years, and although she waited long after retirement to record her very own song, her passion for music has been with her since childhood. “I’ve always had a love for music and songs. All my life, if I was ever been in a blue mood, I’d put a record on, and all of the sudden I’d feel so much better,” she says.
A Philly native, Margie grew up in Kensington. Now living in Northeast Philadelphia at Paul’s Run, it’s fitting that Margie recorded a song about her ever-lasting love for this city. Since moving to the community, Margie has truly enjoyed revisiting her passion for music as she regularly attends music therapy sessions within the community. “I feel good after music therapy,” she says. “I forget about whatever was bothering me because I have a nice song to keep me company.”
Molly Bybee, music therapist at Paul’s Run echoes Margie’s sentiments. “So much of music therapy is about creating musical experiences and supporting residents to meet them where they are.”
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Music therapy really creates moments for residents in which they walk away feeling better about themselves and more connected with the people around them. It’s also extremely mood-boosting.Molly Bybee, music therapist at Paul’s Run
Margie agrees as she confirms that music therapy certainly makes her feel better, especially noting that it makes her feel heard. “Molly listens to me when I express myself. She knows I can sing and she understands me,” Margie says.
Working with residents throughout the community both in group settings and one-on-one, Molly helps residents set goals and accomplish them with music. For Margie, her goal was to create and record a song. “This has been a lifetime goal of Margie’s. With this project, she really wanted to create a song similar to ‘New York, New York,’ but make it about Philly instead,” Molly explains. “She hopes it will become just as famous as the original,” she adds.
Wanting to help Margie accomplish her goal, Molly admits that composing songs is not her forte, so, she came up with an excellent alternative. “I supervise a music therapy fieldwork student here from Drexel,” Molly says referring to James Lavino who is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in music therapy and is completing his clinical fieldwork at Paul’s Run.
James has been a film and TV composer for many years and began pursuing his Master’s in music therapy just over two years ago. His extensive background in writing songs made him the perfect person to help Margie achieve her goal.
It’s a lot of fun working with Margie because she is so enthusiastic. She has a wonderful sense of humor.James Lavino, fieldwork music therapy student at Paul’s Run
James began his fieldwork at Paul’s Run in October of 2019, and when he heard that Margie wanted to write a song about her love for Philadelphia he was thrilled to help.
Together, James and Margie created the song, “I Love to Live in the City of Brotherly Love,” and the lyrics for Margie’s song clearly reflect her Philly pride. “There’s nowhere else better than Philly,” Margie sings. “You couldn’t find a better place if you tried.” Highlighting everything from Philadelphia’s sports teams like the Eagles and Sixers, to cultural classics like the Philly cheesesteak, Margie’s song perfectly depicts the spirit of this city. And her love for music is equally enthusiastic.
“Margie really loves music. To see her pride in creating this song, it’s extremely rewarding,” he reflects. For James, working with Margie is always a delight, and there was no exception to the experience they had in completing this special project together.
Music is like nothing else. It has an incredible power to heal people in a way that is unique. Music can help people feel connected to so many different parts of their lives.
For Margie, music has always been an important part of her life as it has brought her continued happiness and comfort for many years. As for the future, Margie plans to keep pursuing her passion for singing as she regularly performs in the Paul’s Run Bell Choir and attends music therapy sessions every week. And when it comes to her newly released song, “I Love to Live in the City of Brotherly Love,” Margie tells Molly and James that she will split the profits with them after it becomes famous.