History / Regions


Merrymakers was born out a belief in the positive impact of music. Area performers had been performing in nursing homes for hire on a sparse and irregular basis due to a lack of a dedicated budget.

Patti Craig, Executive Director of Merrymakers said the founder saw the transformative effect of his music on his audience and wanted to reach more people on a regular basis.

“Lights were going on inside these people that hadn’t been turned on in years,” Craig said. “Something big was happening and we knew we had to grow this further.”

The Merrymakers Association began serving the seniors in nursing homes in 1986 when a local entertainer met with a group of  businessmen to form an organization dedicated to bringing quality music and laughter to seniors on a regular basis.

That year, eight nursing homes were given ten performances for the year.

Slowly this dream to provide the elderly and seniors with musical entertainment began to grow. Each year, more and more residents receive the benefit of Merrymakers’ free entertainment.

Today, Merrymakers serves more than 40,000 elderly and seniors with free, musical entertainment annually.

In 2013, more than 125 facilities received Merrymakers musical programming.



Merrymakers Iowa currently serves the Des Moines and Central Iowa region. Visit Merrymakers.org to learn more about our efforts in the Nebraska area.


Visit Merrymakers.org