HANFORD — Singing and music are what you’ll hear and smiling faces are what you’ll see if you walk into Kings Rehabilitation Center’s music classes during the week.
Kings Rehabilitation Center is a non-profit agency dedicated to providing services specifically designed for adults with intellectual disabilities. The center offers programs that combine services and training to individuals in vocational skills or life skills to enhance their independence and self-worth.
A Music and Arts Program was established at the center in June and shows no sign of slowing down. During the music classes, clients sing and even learn how to play instruments.
Along with the singing group, there are a dance, painting and photography groups as part of the Music and Arts Program.
Ani Munoz, program director, said the goal of program and different groups is to give the clients outlets for their self-expression.
While clients were initially shy when the classes started, Munoz said they have come out of their shells and are really starting to love them.
Music teacher Randy Phillips agreed, saying it’s always a toss-up whether clients will get into things, but said they have been mostly receptive and seem to be enjoying the different groups.
“They clamor to come into all of the classes, whether it’s painting or singing or learning how to play instruments,” Philips said. “They just line up for it.”
Two classes a day are offered three days a week, and Munoz said around 55 people attend the different classes. In the music group, they practice songs as a group, but also let individuals sing by themselves with the microphone.
Music teacher Randy Phillips said the clients’ tastes in music are eclectic. He said some like trying new things, while others sing the same thing over and over again.
“We sing everything from Bob Dylan to Bruno Mars,” Phillips said. “We even have people that come in and want to sing Alice in Chains and Disturbed, so it’s all over the place.”
Ask the clients what they like about the program and some get shy, while others say things like, “it opens up our hearts.” Ask them what they like so sing and you’ll get a multitude of answers, from specific answers like “Jingle Bell Rock” to anything from The Beatles.
One thing Phillips said they all have in common is that they enjoy the music and sing their hearts out, albeit in their own ways. He also said when one person sings, the others are always kind and applaud when they are finished and give them compliments.
“It’s certainly made a difference in my life and I think it’s making a lot of difference in their lives also,” Phillips said.
The music group sang at the Commission on Aging’s summer picnic and recently had the opportunity to sing during the Christmas Parade.
Munoz said she hopes the community learns more about Kings Rehabilitation Center and the programs it offers.
In an effort to spread the word and showcase all the wonderful things the clients are doing, the Music and Arts Program will hold a Christmas program where they will be dancing, singing and reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
The program is open to the public and will include cookies, hot cocoa and coffee for guests.