I recently wrote a blog about singing with an aging voice, and I suggested several things older singers could do to keep their singing voices at a level where they could continue to participate in choirs. I would like to revisit the subject today and say that one of the great joys in my life is directing an older adult choir at Roswell United Methodist Church. The name of the group is the PrimeTime Singers and it has over fifty members, ranging in age from 60-92. The joy this group brings to me is certainly musical, but that is not all. More than any other group I conduct, this ensemble seems to be filled with the sheer exhilaration that can come from singing. The members of this choir remind me in many ways on a weekly basis that it is fun and rewarding to sing, and they appreciate the joy and satisfaction their music gives to others, as well to themselves. I can remember when I began this group more than five years ago that I was concerned how I would fit it into an already very busy schedule. Now, it is difficult to imagine my life without the opportunity to work with these amazing men and women. Long live senior choirs! May they grow and prosper.
I must begin by stating that I don’t watch very much television. It’s not that I’m a snob about it. I just don’t find much on the screen that interests me. Still, I’ve discovered a series on BBC America this summer that has caught my interest. It appears to be a “reality” show and I had promised myself NEVER to watch one of those, so here is yet another resolution I have broken! Anyway, the show is entitled The Choir and it tells the story of a young and earnest British choirmaster whose mission seems to be to teach the world to sing. His name is Gareth Malone and the original BBC series (the BBC America version is a compilation) ran for several years chronicling his efforts to start choirs in the most unlikely of places: a working class neighborhood north of London that prior to Malone’s entrance had only a pub and a boxing club as social gathering spots; a school for boys that has never in its history had a choir, and in which artistic sensitivity is almost totally absent.
Into situations such as those mentioned above steps Gareth Malone, intent on convincing folks that singing will make them happier and more content, both as individuals and as a group. He doesn’t care about their past experience as singers (or lack thereof), their level of talent (sometimes almost non-existent), or their covincing arguments that they don’t like to sing (he’ll try anything to change their minds). Malone, is in short, a fantastic missionary for the joys of singing. I share with my choruses the Five L’s – something I came up with a number of years ago that I wish to have experienced in every rehearsal I conduct. The Five L’s stand for (1) Listen, (2) Labor, (3) Learn, (4) Laugh, and (5) Love. It appears to me that Mr. Malone is doing all this supremely well with his unlikely assortments of singers. If you haven’t seen the show, I encourage you to take a look. I think it will be worth your time, and you won’t hear me say that often regarding a television show!