While many residents of the Aegis Living Madison assisted living facility have not performed in a choir in years, they have a second chance to share their love for music and singing as members of a newly formed choir. .
The choir was formed three months ago at the request of a resident who asked the director of activities to create one. Suzan Setel, music therapist at Aegis, was up to the challenge and took on the task as conductor.
The growing choir meets for about an hour once a week, Setel said. During a rehearsal in late November, the choir sang and performed American Sign Language on Bob Marley’s “One Love,” which Setel says is one of their favorites.
While singing is the goal, Setel said choral practice promotes many health benefits, adding that they work on breathing, stretching, singing and learning, as well as group singing.
“We have to remember how good it is for our body,” she said, adding that singing is medical support: it reduces stress, and as stress decreases, inspiration and motivation increases. “The singing is very physical, even when there are small movements of the mouth. “
Setel said that although the choir practices spiritual songs, including “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” it is not a religious choir, although many members remember singing in church when they were growing up. .
Choir member Elaine Ethier said she has been singing her entire life and music lifts her spirits.
“Singing is praying,” she said, adding that it doesn’t matter if people think they don’t sing well. “I think all you need are hips and some rhythm.”
Choir member Shirley Lillis said singing helped ease her grief after her father passed away.
“Music uplifts your heart,” said Lillis. “It’s just a wonderful way to feel.”
All agreed that they were grateful that the Aegis staff supported the idea of the choir and that Setel coordinated all the pieces.
“It’s something precious to all of us,” said Ethier. “I think it’s a good thing that happened here.”