Creating beautiful music together

Windsor Run chorus delights neighbors, welcomes new singers

Created date

April 29th, 2020
The Windsor Run chorus performed “Precious Lord,” “We Shall Overcome,” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth” to rave reviews at the community’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration. They're seen here gathering for rehearsal.

The Windsor Run chorus performed “Precious Lord,” “We Shall Overcome,” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth” to rave reviews at the community’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration.

According to the singing advocacy group Chorus America, more than 32 million American adults sing regularly in groups nationwide. This number represents an increase of more than ten million people in the last decade.

And while the majority of singers perform for the camaraderie and joy of entertaining, these musicians are also reaping important health benefits as a result of their efforts.

A research project funded by the National Institute on Aging found that “Singing in a community choir program is a cost-effective way to promote health and well-being among culturally diverse older adults.” The study also shows that, while singing, the body produces hormones that release stress and enhance feelings of bonding while lessening feelings of depression and loneliness.

For chorus members at Windsor Run in Matthews, N.C., singing together, while good for their health, is a favorite way to meet likeminded friends when performing to the delight of their neighbors.  

“I joined our chorus because I love to sing and be with other people who have the same interest,” says Cecelia de Mattos. “I’ve sung in choruses for more than 60 years and have never lost my interest in music.”

Putting it all together

As a community, members of the chorus reached out to local chorus instructor Donna Fisher and her piano accompanist Ron Ellis to help get the group started. 

Currently, the chorus meets the second and fourth Wednesday of every month to rehearse for an hour. 

“We have a wonderful chorus at Windsor Run and enjoy an amazing time together,” says Cecelia. “Our instructor Donna is a very patient, kind, and knowledgeable director.”

As a result of this superb direction, Windsor Run community members are eager to join in on the fun. For many, it is a welcome opportunity to continue a hobby they enjoyed prior to their move.  

“I decided to join the chorus because I enjoy singing and like being with others,” says Jack Willard. “My musical background includes taking piano lessons as a young boy, playing a clarinet in the high school band, singing in the college choir, and then singing in a church choir for 44 years.”

Like Jack, Sandy Schneiderman also loves to sing, performing in choral groups since her school days. 

“I especially enjoy the harmony that comes with performing music in three voice parts—soprano, alto, and bass,” she says. 

With open arms

Despite the wealth of experience among the chorus members, each is careful to point out that neighbors of all skill levels and past experience are welcome and encouraged to join their ranks.

“I encourage anyone interested in music to consider joining our chorus,” says Dick Parsley. “There is no requirement to read music and there are no auditions to join. The music is uplifting and our members are the best.”

Penny Bobincheck agrees. “I sang in my high school chorus and church choir, but I do not read music, and that is not a necessity,” she says. “If you can sing, we’d love to include you as a new member.”

Rave reviews

In January, as part of Windsor Run’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration, the chorus performed for the community singing “Precious Lord,” “We Shall Overcome,” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”  

“We invited the audience to sing with us as we sang ‘We Shall Overcome’ at the end of the speaker’s presentation,” says Gerri Gray. “Our director spontaneously invited everyone to stand and join hands.”

The performance was the chorus’s biggest to date and generated both appreciation and interest in the new ensemble. 

“The community’s response to our group has been excellent,” says Sandy. “Everyone enjoyed our performance at the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration.”

“Everyone I spoke with thought we did a really fine job at the performance,” says Jack.

With the communitywide performance under their belt, members of the chorus hope to welcome new members to their group as they plan for future events.

“Everyone here is very supportive,” says Cecelia. “Our chorus is a wonderful bunch of people who not only like to sing but also love to laugh and smile.”