Some of the Joyful Voices choir members gathering for a rehearsal.

By Sean Crumpacker

The Bridges Retirement Community is proud to host a new choir, the Joyful Voices Senior Community Choir, which practiced for the first time on January 27. With rehearsals every Monday, the Joyful Voices choir is happy to bring senior citizens—both residents of The Bridges and nonresidents—together to sing.

Joyful Voices is already preparing for its first performance at The Bridges Clubhouse. Each rehearsal typically sees about 20-30 participants eager to practice and prepare for their concert.

“We all know music is enjoyable and offers so many benefits such as managing stress, alleviating pain, decreasing anxiety as well as stimulating memories. Joyful Voices was created quite simply for those older adults who have a love of music and a desire to sing,” said Donna Steiermann, executive director of The Bridges.

The books have large print to ensure readability (and can be enlarged) and the rehearsal rooms are picked to benefit individuals who might be experiencing hearing loss or degradation.

“We try to accommodate as much as we possibly can,” said Janet Formato, music director.

“I selected songs that I thought that they might already know a little bit,” Formato said. “I try to do a theme, so what I chose were Broadway songs, but the older ones—older songs that they would know that have an easy tune and that they could easily sing.”

“I feel like I belong. It’s a very nice group and the director is very easy to follow,” said Barbara Culver, a choir participant.

“When I first saw that The Bridges was going to have this Joyful Voices choir, I was thrilled to death,” said Pat Ricciardi, another member of the choir, who explained that music was very important to her background and family as someone who had previously been a part of a choir.

Rehearsals are held every Monday from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at The Bridges Clubhouse, and attendance is entirely free.

“If anyone reading this article has a spark of interest, we encourage them to attend a rehearsal,” said Janet Noah, director of community relations at The Bridges. “We are committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment.”

The Joyful Voices choir also encourages all those interested to attend their first performance, which will take place at The Bridges Clubhouse on Sunday, April 26 at 3 p.m. The concert is free of charge and open to the public.

For more information, visit The Bridges’ Facebook page or call 413-8900.

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