Christmas choir bonds Springdale residents, staff member

Christmas

‘It’s a communal activity; it draws us together,’ says Trish Mills

“It’s a lovely bond we have.” That’s what comes to mind for Trish Mills when she reflects on what’s best about a resident Christmas choir she’s now leading at Springdale Country Manor.

“Some of us can hit some notes and others of us can hit other notes. … But the great thing about a choir is we cover for each other and support each other.

“It’s a communal activity. It draws us together. We wouldn’t be a choir without each other.”

Music can reach a deep place in each one of us, the life enrichment aide adds. This can especially be the case when a group is singing well-loved songs, like familiar Christmas carols.

Even as all that people have lost is brought to mind during the holidays, music can both be a moment of brightness and a reminder of what there is still to celebrate.

Mills started the resident choir at the Peterborough County long-term care home last Christmas season as an addition to the bell choir that was already happening.

This year, the group began meeting in late October to practise.

Sandra is a member of the choir who brings a rich history in leading and being part of choirs, including a Salvation Army choir for years.

“Oh, yes, I like to sing, always did,” she says, in a heartfelt voice.

Songs the choir is singing this year have been picked based on some of the residents’ favourites.

They include Away In A Manger, O Little Town of Bethlehem, O Tannenbaum and others. The choir has learned two melodies for each of the songs. A pianist from a local church, Nancy Ireland, is giving her time to accompany the choir.

Mills describes the atmosphere as the group practises as very relaxed. “We do some warmups, some scales to warm up the voices.

“But the great thing is that there is absolutely no pressure. There are some that sit by and sort of cheerlead us on and maybe don’t sing, and there are some that really sing out.”

The Springdale Christmas choir will be performing on Dec. 15 at a Christmas service and family gathering held at the long-term care home.

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