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Music Authority holds fundraiser for Alzheimer’s
Drum circle
Guests joined in a drum circle as part of The Longest Day event at Music Authority. - photo by Jim Dean

The sound of beating drums from inside Music Authority drowned out the pitter-patter of rain, the punchy, almost tribal beat echoing out into the music store’s parking lot.

People young and old sat in a circle in the store’s band room, some with real drums, though most hit their drum sticks rhythmically against Home Depot’s plastic “Let’s Do This” buckets.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks and ultimately causing death.

10 signs of Alzheimer’s disease:

• Memory loss that disrupts daily life

• Challenges in planning or solving problems

• Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or leisure

• Confusion with time or place

• Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

• New problems with words, in speaking or writing

• Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

• Decreased or poor judgement

• Withdrawal from work or social activities

• Changes in mood and personality

*Source: Alzheimer’s Association

On Wednesday, Music Authority of Cumming held its second annual “Music for Memories” event to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association, which has long celebrated the June 21 summer solstice with “Longest Day” events.

“The great and different thing about the Longest Day is that everyone kind of creates their own event,” said Ava Cologne, Constituent Event Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association. “[Wednesday] morning we were at the nursing home and then later I went to a lunch and learn at a company; so many people can do it, it’s just about what their passion is.”

Music Authority, which held its first Longest Day event last year, fundraises by holding fairs, rock camps and concerts throughout the day.

Melissa Loggins, the store’s owner, said she started the event for her grandmother, who suffered from the disease.

“My grandmother passed away in January from Alzheimer’s – so last year she was still with us, but in a [nursing] home in northwest Ohio, where I’m from,” Loggins said. “This all started out as music making memories for Gene, who is my grandmother.”

Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disease, causes nerve cells in the brain to die, which affects a person’s ability to remember things, think clearly and use good judgement.

Ultimately, the disease worsens to the point of causing brain death, which ultimately causes bodily death.

Doctors don’t know what causes Alzheimer’s, nor is there a cure, but fundraisers such as the Longest Day event help raise awareness, with the money raised largely going to Alzheimer’s research.

“The Longest Day is more about bringing the community together and turning the town purple and raising awareness,” Cologne said. “It’s great that people are fundraising, but I think the awareness is what most members of the association really need, for people to learn about the disease.”

Rachele Lahr, charity chairperson for Music Authority, said the store surpassed its goal of $1,750 by more than $650, bringing in $2,406.01 for the Alzheimer’s Association.

“It was a really great event,” she said, “and we are just so happy with everybody that came out and helped be a part of it and everyone who came out to support the musicians and the vendors.

“I was discussing with [Cologne] what we can do next year to expand and make it a bigger thing; we want to grow the event and make it bigger and better.”