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Song Spotlight: A Place In The Sun

  • Theme: Sunshine, Hope
  • Mood: Hopeful, Optimistic
  • Style: Soul

Have you talked about the weather yet today? Weather is a reliable conversation starter in just about every group of people, including groups that include older adults and caregivers.

Of course, we can rejoice or commiserate over the actual outside conditions or reminisce about the worst snowstorm/tornado/flood ever.

But we can also talk about weather conditions as a metaphor for feelings and moods and life circumstances – a common practice in the arts.

Stevie Wonder’s hit song “A Place in the Sun” is a good example of this weather-as-metaphor tradition. He recorded this Motown hit at the ripe old age of 16 in 1966. This song was one of Stevie Wonder’s first to contain social commentary, hinting at his political activism to come.

“A Place In The Sun” remains a soul classic, although cover versions have been recorded by artists as diverse as Engelbert Humperdinck and Glen Campbell. This is probably thanks to a singable chorus and the universal themes of seeking happiness and a better life.

Depending on participants’ cognitive needs, you may use this song for concrete concepts (i.e. Sunshine) or abstract concepts (I.e. Hope, optimism).

Try This:

  • Include this song in a group of songs about sunshine or weather in general.
  • Invite participants to sing the chorus together.
  • Discuss when participants have found their “places in the sun.”
  • Show pictures of various sunny places and invite discussion of travel experiences.
  • Try songwriting. Write new verses about sunny places people have visited, or about people’s hopes and wishes for the future.
  • Do movement to music, with flowing movements and waving your arms above your head every time you hear, “a place in the sun.”

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