“He just woke up for the first time in years. I want to hire you to sing for his birthday.”
“You made my whole day better!!”
RochellePhyllis’ daughter in Law
“If you knew Phyllis’ story you’d see that what you’re doing is miraculous.”
JennaleeSkylark Assisted Living Memory Care Unit
"Hi, I'm Jennalee and I work in the Activities Department of Skylark Assisted Living Memory Care Unit. Heart and Hope Ministries comes into our community every Monday to play music and enrich the lives of our residents, and I must say that it is always one of the brightest parts of my week. The therapeutic effects of music, and power of the kindness and positive energy that Heart and Hope's volunteers radiate never ceases to amaze me. People with memory disorders who have issues remembering many other things always remember the Heart and Hope crew. People who are normally reserved will sing and dance and those who are agitated or anxious always feel soothed and calmed. During the slow, relaxing tunes some people will nod off into a nap and wake up a few moments later with a smile, ready to sing along to the next song. The smiles on their faces are genuine and the happiness lasts throughout the day. In the evening I always can hear the residents and staff humming or whistling a tune from the show hours earlier. It reminds me of the simple things in life that are deeply ingrained within us and bring joy no matter our age or ability.
The volunteers of Heart and Hope Ministries are wonderful people who are kind, warm, and generous. They remember all the residents' names and favorite songs, and always have many kind words and smiles for everyone. I believe they improve and enrich the lives of everyone their paths cross, and I highly recommend their services to anyone, even if only for the simple pleasure of listening to a classic, lovely song played beautifully. Thank you to everyone at Heart and Hope for all that you do!"
“You guys are amazing!”
“Louise, who was languishing, seven months after a massive stroke sang, “O What A Beautiful Morning” 1st verse and chorus, in pitch, every word, while her brother sobbed at the sight.”
Dar WolberAdministrator, Roxy Ann MC
"Donny comes to Roxy Ann Every Monday at 10:45 and does a wonderful job of interacting with our Elders. It is not a performance but Donny leading the group in various forms and styles of music. Donny is an expert in getting his group to not only sing along but often to dance and play musical instruments with him. He knows every resident by name and has so much compassion for our Elders. He is loved by all. Join us anytime."
Janet A.Gilman House, AFC
“I feed and wash and clothe them and you bring them happiness.”
Holly HimesFacilities Coordinator
Just wanted to say thank you for the beautiful songs you write. I purchased one of your CDs many summers ago at Kayumari. I hadn't listened to it much recently but still had it around. I was feeling kind of down and overwhelmed by oil spills, the state of the world, and living with a depressed spouse. I started listening to your songs again and memorizing them as I drove to work. They helped me to realize and remember that the only thing I can do is to be loving and kind, do my best to use the resources of the earth as minimally as I can and walk in peace. So now every time I get stressed or anxious I sing one of the songs and gradually I feel better.
I have memorized 3 so far and almost have the 4th one down. A much better use of my time than worrying.
Stacey KearnsJackson House Assisted Living Talent, OR
"I was so thrilled to see you there with all of your bells and whistles. My dad has lived there since January. I apologize for any rude behavior he may have targeted you with. He's a bit moody these days. He's the grumpy one named Doug who is missing most of his fingers on one hand. I came by one time and Dad was actually enjoying himself with some small bell ringing. It was a joy for me to witness. Thank you so much for taking the time to come to Jackson House. It really meant so much to me to see such a happy expression on my dad's face. You are an unsung hero.
Mike and I have thought about you often and have wondered where you had disappeared. Ran into you some time ago around our neighborhood in Talent. You were quite happy at the time with one of your kids’ accomplishments at med school. If this gives you an idea of how long ago it's been.
But the real reason I am hoping this message gets to you is about your quiet and loyal servitude with the Elders in your community. Thank you so much for making my dad smile. Thank you for giving my dad something to whine about. He never has been an easy one to please so don't take his complaining, if that is the mood he is in that day, too personally. Thank you Donny, for being such a giving man."
As far as our conversation, the songs that I have moved my spirit, from Open Your Heart, are:
One Minute to Midnight
Practicing Your Presence
Light of Your Love
Up, Up, Up Into the Presence
I will talk to you when it gets closer to a solid recording. The following is what I feel about your music:
The spirituality invoked lifts the inner being to a higher elevation. As I was driving through Mount Shasta and listening to your songs, I experienced a deepened physical sense of God's Presence. It was quite remarkable. Your music encapsulates the Spirit. I am sincerely grateful for this treasure of music.