Making music in retirement

“Singing is good for your health,” said Gareth Malone, the TV choir master who has introduced choral singing to the masses. “It lifts the spirits, bonds people and you can do it for free.”

No wonder then that so many older people are finding their voices and forming choirs.

A shared love of singing has brought Owners of two Churchill retirement developments in Dorset together to form the Churchill Choir.

The choir’s conductor Ali Sharpe, lives at Churchill’s Dean Lodge development in Southbourne, where she keeps her grand piano.

“Singing is so good for you and it’s a chance for people to socialise whilst enjoying a hobby,” she says.

The choir not only gives concerts but released its first music video last Christmas, with members writing and recording their own festive song.

“We were thrilled to be given the opportunity to record it and to film our own video,” says Ali.

“It’s been a wonderful experience and I hope everyone will be able to see from watching it how much fun we had making it.” You will never be lonely if you sing, as Churchill choir member.

Denzil Jarvis discovered: “I love not only singing as a physical activity, which is good for you and raises your spirits, but that you create something with other people, something you could not create on your own. That kind of creativity with other people is what I enjoy.”

Dame Esther Rantzen DBE, Churchill Ambassador and founder of The Silver Line, also acknowledged the choir’s achievement.

“I think it’s wonderful that this choir has embraced modern technology and taken on such an exciting challenge by filming their own video. We all know how good it can be for people’s health and wellbeing to get together and sing.”

“Retirement developments are ideal places for people to sing and make music together,” says Neil MacKichan of the retirement property website retiremove.co.uk. “If there’s a room with a piano there is usually at least one Owner who can play and if there are singers too it can end up being the heart and soul of the development.”

Other retirees have formed ukulele groups and some, who took piano lessons in their youth, even entertain fellow Owners.

It is never too late to dust off your violin or clarinet, or indeed take up a new musical instrument. I took piano lessons as a child but was introduced o the viola in February last year when I inherited one from a family friend. I found a brilliant teacher and managed to pass my Grade 3 exam 10 months later with distinction.

My teacher is young enough to be my son, but we have so much fun and he has inspired me to keep going and given me the confidence to apply to join a string quartet. There are choirs and orchestras all over the country offering opportunities to amateur singers and musicians. The Battersea Power Station Community Choir in London has members of all ages and even holds karaoke evenings

Benslow Music in Hertfordshire offers residential courses to adults wanting to refresh their musical skills, learn new instruments or join in a workshop.

Music also brings tremendous health benefits such as keeping your vocal chords exercised, moving those finger joints and exercising your brain. Altogether now one, two, three, four… 

By Jane Slade


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