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The joy of song

Fox Run choir sings for neighbors, friends

Created date

April 23rd, 2013

Singing has long been a favorite pastime for Rosemary Beggs. An alto, she has lent her singing talents to her high school, college, and church. I ve always been in choirs, she says. Nearly seven years ago, Rosemary and her husband Jack decided to move from Troy, Mich., to Fox Run, the Erickson Living community in Novi. Among the many things that delighted Rosemary about her new home was the fact that the vibrant community had a choir. She joined the singing group just a few months after moving to Fox Run and currently leads the choir. With about 40 active members, the choir is one of the most loved and active clubs among residents at Fox Run. Rosemary says the singers meet every week to hone their craft. Phyllis Gambino, a music and Spanish teacher at a local high school, serves as choir director. I just walked in when Fox Run was still operating out of a [marketing] trailer [before the community was built], and I volunteered to start a choir, Gambino says. Gambino selects all of the music for the choir and lends her talents to help residents develop their singing voices. Rosemary says Fox Run s choir is fortunate to have several talented members, for example, fellow resident Lynda Park-Nielsen. She has the most beautiful voice, Rosemary says about Lynda.

Retired doctor gets back to music

Rosemary says another vital member of the Fox Run choir is Dr. Fred Grose, a retired family physician who serves as the piano accompanist to the singers. Fred says he played piano as a young man all the way through high school. But his life got busy with college, medical school, and then building his career, so he stopped playing piano. In 2003, Fred moved to Fox Run from Farmington Hills. Even though he hadn t played in decades, he decided to return to the piano. I had about 40 years that I didn t play, Fred says. It s nice to be able to pick this up again. Fred says he had some relearning to do, but he is dedicated to the process. He says a former patient of his was selling a piano, so he bought it for his Fox Run apartment home. He practices for at least an hour every day to build his skills. His friends and neighbors in the choir appreciate his hard work and natural talent. We couldn t live without Fred, Rosemary says.

No experience necessary

Of course, not all choir members have musical backgrounds. In fact, Rosemary says, plenty of them are complete novices who want to challenge themselves to try something new. We often get people who can learn to sing by listening, Rosemary says. From people who have made a career out of music to those who have never sung anywhere but the shower and everyone in-between new residents are always welcome to join in on choir fun. I m always searching for new members and asking people at dinner if they re interested in being a part of the choir, Rosemary says. There are a lot of musical people at Fox Run. The choir has a fall season and a winter season. They spend each season perfecting about ten different songs, and then they hold a concert every May and December. The December concert focuses on holiday themes, and the May show usually features lighthearted numbers that get people in the mood for spring. The entire Fox Run community looks forward to choir concerts, Rosemary says. The singers get a chance to showcase what they ve been practicing for months, and their neighbors get to enjoy live music. The concerts are very well attended, Rosemary says. We re like a large family here everybody cares about each other.