Watch CBS News

Exclusive: 'The Fifth Dementia' Band Pairs Teen Musicians With Alzheimer's Patients

BRENTWOOD ( — Students at Windward High School are building bonds and making music with elderly Alzheimer's patients in a band called "The Fifth Dementia."

The group brought their talents to the Brentwood Presbyterian Church on Friday, serenading their audience with smooth jazz while surrounded by a Christmas tree and poinsettias.

"Music is medicine for the mind. And there are new studies to show the activity in the brain whilst people are playing a musical instrument, the brain lights up," said Carol Rosenstein, who's married to one of the band members.

CBS2/KCAL9's Kaj Goldberg spoke with band member Sam Mayo. Despite being unable to understand or answer Goldberg's questions, Mayo had no trouble belting out "You Are My Sunshine" on his harmonica to the crowd.

"Playing music is a way to stop the dementia from progressing, it can retard the progression," Rosenstein said.

Mayo's mind may not be as sharp as it used to be, but his notes certainly are.

"You can take anyone who I play with, who's my age, who's playing piano, and put them right next to each other and they look exactly the same," Windward High student and band member Spencer Lemann said.

Program organizers hope to expand and make a difference to communities across Southern California.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.