Seniors Experience Happiness, Health, and Connection Through Expanded Arts Programming with VocalEssence

Posted Friday, March 15, 2024

We do it while driving in the car. We do it while shopping at the grocery store. We even do it in the shower. Singing is a powerful activity enjoyed by so many people! More and more, you’ll hear music floating through the halls at Keystone’s West 7th Community Center location.

Keystone has partnered with VocalEssence through its Vintage Voices program to help incorporate more singing and music into the everyday lives of older adults. For the last few months, we have been offering a Community Sing-Along led by a conductor and pianist from VocalEssence.

There are many benefits to singing in community, including expanded lung capacity, better posture, and the release of endorphins in the brain that cause you to feel happiness and satisfaction.

The fulfillment and sense of community that Joy and the other senior participants have felt during the Community Sing-Along has been unmatched! Thank you for your generous support which helps expand arts programming, making music and singing more accessible to older adults.

With the generous support from our community, we’ve been on a mission to offer more arts-related programming for older adults, and over the last year, we’ve been expanding to add more music-based programming, too.

Teisha Magee, Keystone’s Director of Senior Services, explains, “Music can be quite inaccessible. It’s expensive, too loud, crowded, or there are other reasons why some older adults stop enjoying music or participating in musical arts, and we wanted to change that.”

During the sing-alongs, singers of all musical experience and ability levels gather in the longue, coming together first with community conversation, breathing exercises, and even light physical stretching before singing. Once everyone is warmed up and comfortable, signing begins, and soon, you can hear songs from Bob Dylan to Dionne Warwick permeating throughout the hallways.

Joy, a Community Sing-Along participant, can vouch for those happy feelings. She shares, “I have been looking since 2016 to find a choir or singing group to lift my spirits since I retired. I couldn’t find one that I wanted, and then, in October of this year, I joined Keystone’s Community Sing-Along. The first time I came, I cried — I was so happy.”

If you know someone who might be interested in joining VocalEssence Vintage Voices Choir at Keystone Community Services, please call 651-298-5493 for more information.