Bread & Roses serves people of all ages and backgrounds who are isolated in institutions. Some of them suffer from lapses in memory. We have seen seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, for instance, who may not recognize their grandchildren, but are still able to recall all the lyrics of a song.
Those who know the power that music has to invoke memory will appreciate The Music Never Stopped, a 2011 Sundance Film Festival pick that examines the relationship between memory, music, and healing. In the film, Gabriel (Lou Taylor Pucci), is reunited with his parents, Henry (J.K. Simmons) and Helen Sawyer (Cara Seymour), when he turns up at a hospital in New York in 1986 with a large, yet benign brain tumor that has severely damaged his memory. The past, present and future are virtually indistinguishable for him and he is incapable of interacting with those around him, including his parents, from whom he’s been estranged for 20 years.
When medicine and traditional therapy fail to help Gabriel regain his memory, Henry contacts a music therapist, Dianne Daley (Julia Ormond), who discovers that when Gabriel listens to the music that he loved as an adolescent, especially the Grateful Dead, he is able to reconnect with the world. We all have a soundtrack to our lives, and somehow that musical memory seems to survive even the most traumatic of brain injuries.