Hi, my name is Sally and my passion is working with activities for seniors and providing nursing home activities and assisting seniors in nursing home, assisted living, and memory care facilities.
I have many gifts and talents and one gift given to me was music. I share my music in a variety of ways singing,harmonica playing, and piano. Although I am self taught with most of music related things, I do owe much of what I have learned to my oldest brother because he would drill me with music harmonies, playing by ear (I don’t read music very well) and enough theory to lead a choir.
It had been many years since I had lead a choir, probably 12 or 13, and in September 2010 I woke from a dream I was having, and knew in my heart of hearts that I needed to start a Christmas choir with the seniors that I love and work with.
In the morning I went through the chain of command getting permission from the Activity Director, she in turn went to the House Manager, and to my GREAT delight I was granted the privilege of announcing our very first ever choir rehearsal.
The response was overwhelming, people were hungry to sing and share the talents they had. Over the months we rehearsed and arranged solos, duets, songs sung in German, and one of the seniors is a very talented and trained pianist who played the piano.
In addition to group choir singing there were a variety of ensembles and solos formed. One of the solos was sung by a woman with an oxygen tank, having a cannula in her nostrils, one woman was in a wheelchair singing a solo, two men sang a duet together, and people from our Memory Care apartments were there at every rehearsal in preparation of the concert. By the end of our Christmas concert there was not a dry eye in the building.
A variety of Christmas music was selected ranging from contemporary to traditional. Each piece was chosen in a democratic way with votes by the raise of hands, and of course much discussion. As is the norm, we did not meet and practice without disagreements on things, I was working with many personalities, music talents ranging from the very experienced to the the rookie “shower” singer. Most had never used a microphone before and many rehearsals involved holding a microphone and them repeatedly hearing me say “Remember, the microphone is your friend.” We laugh now but situations were challenging at times, and although heads butted at times, I would not change one minute of one rehearsal for anything.
We also had far more close bonding times together that out ranked the difficulties and learned to work hard together forming a group that is fiercely dedicated and hard working.
I had no idea at all that there would be so MANY people come to hear us sing, the place was packed with standing room only, people spilling into the outside hall and narthex area. I could never had done all that was accomplished without the assistance of the Activity Director, our secretary, and those who assisted with props, sheet music, and encouragement. It truly was an entire facility effort with the most amazing outcome that no one could have every anticipated, a group of seniors, an untrained musician, with the desire to sing from the heart and give to those who would listen.
It all started with a dream I had, to direct a choir with the most amazing wonderful people on the earth and this dream became a reality after months of hard work, dedications, and an unbeatable vision.