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A chance to mingle with neighbors

by David Fishlowitz
Staff Writer

Feb. 6, 2002

Laurie DeWitt/The Gazette

Musicians from the M Street Brass Quintet perform Friday at the Inwood House's monthly coffeehouse. The event, held once a month, is open to the community as well as Inwood House, an apartment complex for people with disabilities.

Coffeehouse provides music, conversation for Inwood residents, community members

Inwood House residents Alan Grossman, Barbara Ladd and Doug Anderson were gathered around a table drinking coffee, chatting, and enjoying the sounds of the M Street Brass Quintet last Friday.

"It's a way to loosen up after a hard work week," Grossman said.

The coffeehouse at the corner of University Boulevard and Inwood Avenue operates on the first Friday of each month, is open to residents and the community and features live music including a professional band, followed by the house band, Profusion, with open microphone for residents.

Inwood House is a apartment complex for people with disabilities. Residents get a chance to mingle with community members and other visitors when the coffeehouse is open. The program began in November.

Resident Kristen Uleck said it is a welcome break from the rest of the week.

"It's relaxing. You can sit back and talk to people you haven't seen all week," Uleck said as she checked names at the entrance. "A few of my friends are singing tonight. I have my own band. Maybe one day we'll play here. It's a nice atmosphere to get together with people in the community."

Inwood House is a good spot to have such a program, said Administrator Meg Marshall.

"It makes sense to have something for residents and the community to enjoy top local talent," Marshall said.

Inside, residents and guests were gathered around tables as volunteers Ashley Cline and Sabrina Hirst, eighth-graders at Sligo Middle School, served cake and coffee and ran the snack bar.

Lesley Choy, along with her husband Steve, arrange for the musicians to play at the coffeehouse.

Choy used to bring in professional musicians to perform for her performance art classes at Inwood House.

"The residents here appreciate good music," Choy said. "It would be an ordeal to bring them to the Kennedy Center. This is a logical venue. It has opened up entertainment opportunities for people who otherwise wouldn't be able to enjoy live music. "

Also, the mixture of residents and visitors is a step in the right direction, Choy said.

"This is an effort toward total integration of the outside community and residents of Inwood House," Choy said.

Phyllis Shulman, 62, has lived at Inwood House for 22 years and strongly favors the coffeehouse.

"It's something to look forward to," Shulman said. "It takes you away from that crazy TV. Sometimes I fall asleep with the TV on. This keeps me awake."

Shulman performs with Profusion regularly.

"I did the theme from 'Orpheus'," Shulman said. "Tonight will be 'My Bloody Valentine.'"

Shulman said her fellow residents benefit from the music and socialization.

"It picked up their spirits," Shulman said. "It chased the doldrums away and makes things more livable. It makes me forget my troubles."

Barbara Ladd, a 21-year resident, said she would like the coffee house open more often.

"I think it would be nice if they had it more than once a month," Ladd said.

Marc Litz , a visitor from Laurel, praised the efforts of the Inwood House as he watched Profusion with his two sons.

"They do a nice job of getting the residents involved," Litz said. "You can see the smiles on their faces. "

Area musician Kevin Buckholdtz said some places have lower-quality musicians, but Inwood House gets high-caliber shows.


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