Bay area teens Josh Rushakoff and Caroline Jaffe are typical high school seniors with crazy busy schedules. Yet, they somehow seems to find the time to perform concerts for senior citizens residing in retirement homes or nursing facilities, and have also made it easy for other budding musicians to do the same.
Josh, who has been learning the piano since he was five years old, was always frustrated that he had very few venues where he could perform. Then in seventh grade, he came up with the brilliant idea of performing in front of audiences at retirement and nursing homes. However, Josh soon realized that while his idea was great, it was not as easy to implement. There was a lot of time consuming coordination required, including contacting homes and trying to figure out a time that worked for both parties.
In 2007, Josh now a sophomore at University High School in San Francisco, thought of a way to connect the two, via a website and the idea of Musical Match was born. Armed with a $1,000 grant from the Rosenblatt Summer Fellowship for community service, Josh spent the entire summer setting up the site, contacting and listing homes in San Francisco, as well as talking to music schools for potential performers. By the end of summer, Josh had created a site where both interested parties could come together and coordinate their schedules, without ever picking up a phone.
16-year old Caroline Jaffe, a senior at Branson School in Ross, recently joined Josh in his efforts to expand the site's reach beyond San Francisco. An accomplished violinist herself, Caroline faced the same frustration and liked the idea of combining community service with her passion for music. She now manages the North Bay chapter of Musical Match, and has organized and participated in several live concerts at The Redwoods, a retirement community in Mill Valley.
Musical Match currently lists fifteen retirement and nursing homes, all located in the San Francisco and North Bay region. While Josh and Caroline are happy at the progress it has made in its short one-year existence, they would love to see it go national and are calling on all budding musicians and retirement homes to join in. If you are interested in registering either as performer or listener, check out their website at www.musicalmatch.org.
Sources: MarinIJ, Josh Rushakoff