Pinellas composer produces music exploring dementia thanks to grant

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Seniors are showing off their talents as part of a community collaboration - giving them an opportunity to explore their creativity.

As a child, Tom Sivik knew he wanted to be a composer.

"When I was 3 or 4 remember I used to go next door to my neighbor's house and play their piano," said composer and playwright Tom Sivik. "I started lessons when I was seven. I wrote my first piece of music after my third piano lesson."

Now he's taking part in the Act II Artist Grant, an initiative that chooses four artists over the age of 60 to showcase their creative talents.

"The Act II grant gave me the opportunity to branch out and try something a little more daring or a little more serious," Tom said.

It's the brainchild of the Pinellas Community Foundation and Creative Pinellas. Each artist was given $2,000 to shine the spotlight on aging.

"This grant gave us the opportunity to really speak to a group of people in our county who are very important," said Barbara St. Clair with for Creative Pinellas.

Tom is writing a string quartet. He calls his original music piece "Three Ddementian." It will explore the different stages of dementia.

"Because of the grant, I'm going to be able to hire four musicians from the Florida Orchestra to play this piece," Tom said.

It will be a nice opportunity to give those in their golden years an opportunity to create something worthwhile.