Ch.36. Pat Joins a Memory Choir.
August 2019. Several months ago, Pat and I attended a memory care conference in Eau Claire. We walked through the exhibitor booths and met an energetic and friendly woman named Cathy Reitz. Cathy is a retired music teacher who directs the Stand in the Light Memory Choir. Members of the choir all have memory loss issues or are with someone with memory loss or are volunteers who partner with memory loss participants. Cathy invited us to join the choir when it restarted in the fall. She then sent us a reminder before the first fall rehearsal.
Pat has an excellent soprano voice; she was a soloist in high school and sang with symphony orchestras, but she hadn’t been singing recently. She decided to go to the rehearsal. There, at a local church, we found about 40-50 participants, many of whom were repeaters from the year before. After coffee and treats everybody adjourned to the performance area and found places to sit or stand. Pat, being small, was assigned to sit in the second chair in the first row and was given a partner who sat next to her. I chose to watch rather than sing. I wanted Pat to have something that was hers and I wanted a chance to feel proud of her.
Wow! There Pat stood, talking animatedly with her volunteer partner. And another Wow! when the singing began Pat was smiling; she was reading the words easily; she was singing; most of all, she looked joyful. She was relaxed and spirited. And I did feel a sense of pride to see my wonderful wife enjoying life and feeling competent.
We’re going back next week for the second rehearsal.
Pat’s response to “Pat Joins a Memory Choir.”
I was a soloist in high school and I also took singing lessons from Madie Metzger-Ziegler who sang at times for orchestras in New York.
Ron chose to watch and sat attentive. And the lady next to me said he was very handsome. She specifically asked if he was my husband.
I knew several of the songs although they were arranged in specific ways, differently than I had seen before. I felt I was singing well and on key and I was enjoying myself. I was proud of singing in that choir. I can’t wait to go back.
ADDED NOTE: July, 2020. The Stand in the Light Choir is not meeting at this time because of the Corona virus. We both miss it dearly, both the songs and the people. But many members are older with significant underlying medical conditions. Standing near each other while breathing hard is obviously far too dangerous to attempt. However, the choir’s board is working to find ways we can sing together again, probably on Zoom or a similar vehicle. We are hoping for their success.