Ch. 50 Ron Joins the Stand in the Light Memory Choir
We’ve written before about how living with Lewy Body has provided opportunities for new experiences. Last fall Pat joined the Stand in the Light Choir, whose membership includes people with dementia, their care partners, and volunteers. The volunteers help those with dementia stay organized, but my observation is that mostly they come to sing – and everyone in the choir seems to have a good voice. This choir is directed by Cathy Reitz, a singer herself who has the incredible ability to insist on quality while ensuring that people have a good time.
All fall I watched, thinking my most important job was to offer Pat support in this new endeavor. Pat steadily regained her voice (she had been a soloist in high school and sung with symphonic orchestras) and her confidence while I happily played the role of cheerleader. Meanwhile, Cathy suggested I too join the choir. I deferred, saying I wanted to stay in my cheerleader role until Pat didn’t need that anymore. Fact is, I was terrified of joining the choir. I have a mediocre voice, totally untrained, and I have never sung in front of anyone, not even my family. On the other hand, I could see how much fun the choir members were having, and I discovered that several volunteers had never sung before and had no musical training.
I decided to join. But I was still scared. So, Pat took me to a music store where she located a beginner’s music book. Who knew, for instance, that singers naturally have two voices, one emanating from their chest and one from their face and throat? That little piece of information cleared up why I often started low and ended high, with a hearable crack in between. I’ve attended three rehearsals now and I’ve been practicing between rehearsals. I’m having fun and learning a great deal in an entirely new domain (which, as a bonus, is supposed to help a person maintain or improve brain function as they age.)
We’ve now reversed roles. Pat has become my cheerleader, helping me gain skill and confidence.
Lewy Body is still a tough disease. No choir can change that reality. However, Pat’s courage in facing her dementia while finding ways to enjoy life has widened both of our experiences.
Pat’s comments on Ron Joins the Stand in the Light Choir:
I’ve been delighted with Ron joining the Stand in the Light choir. He has by his own research already found many things his voice can do and I am delighted hearing him sing. It would be correct to say that I am now his cheerleader – along with all the kids in our family – the Bergers, Keiths, and Potter-Efrons.
October, 2020. We still belong to the choir but now, during the Covid-19 outbreak, we meet virtually.