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Seniors Helping Seniors

on July 25, 2013

Entering stage right, are Jean and Howie Harris of the “Jeannie and Howie Show.” A Brand New Day had the honor of spending some fun and enlightening time with this couple. Dave had the opportunity to meet with these two lovely people for an hour and found their passion, love of people and giving was infectious. Howie and Jeannie have been married for four years and want to give back to their community. Howie is a retired marriage and family therapist and taught at Santa Rosa Community College. They both have had experience with assisted living communities and hospice services with loved ones in their lives.

They are a well known and popular singing couple that performs for seniors all over Shasta County and in assisted living facilities. The couple continues to entertain with permanent bookings at various locations throughout Redding. They will be performing again at A Brand New Day in July.

Jeannie and Howie have both competed in the Senior Idol competition at the Cascade Theater in 2009 and 2011. Jeannie placed third in 2009 and earned first place in 2011 at age 84, singing “Cabaret.” Howie, who is 79, closed the 2011 show with the Beatles song “Hey Jude.” Jeannie and Howie have has a warm spot in their heart for the Senior Idol competition, which is no longer in production. Because of this and their love for the audience they are now performing in Redding as volunteers. It is their way of giving back.

Jeannie said, “The Senior Idol was a thrilling experience. To sing for an audience of over one thousand at the sold out shows gave us our five minutes of fame. The show will be missed.” She added with a smile, “Singing keeps me feeling young and living with a purpose. It is very gratifying to see smiling faces as the audience recognizes an old song they remember.” Howie and Jeannie both sang for A Brand New Day Mother’s Day celebration this year; the residents loved them. Their volunteerism was paid in smiles and applause which is their fulfilling reward.

Since their focus is giving back to the Redding community they sing for seniors, and engage the audience with songs of days gone by. If you would like to see a performance, you can watch their video on by typing in Jeannie Harris.

Jeannie believes, “We need to keep the seniors engaged in life and to experience music, which I understand is a form of therapy.” It is said that music stimulates more areas of the brain than any other stimulus. It can conjure up, memories of a first date, getting married, or a terrific vacation. Remembering the words to the songs of the good ole days is engages the part of the brain known as the hippocampus.

Howie and Jeannie continue to entertain seniors with oldies but goodies and country songs. The couple believes seniors don’t want to be in the way, or “bother anyone.” They have turned that statement around with their willingness and passion to perform. The couple sings and performs for parties, bbq dinners, and just about any other celebration involving seniors. To check their performance schedule, give them a call at 229-1300.




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