“Sing. Sing a song. Sing out loud, sing out strong.” If you’re not already humming this tune, stand by because you’re about to see the benefits of song for good health and longevity.
That is what AARP Colorado staff and volunteers believe, so they embarked on a collaboration with the Larimer Chorale this year to launch a new Singing for Seniors program. The program, an outreach effort that provides an avenue for older adults to engage in recreational singing, is designed as a six-month program to gather research on how singing impacts the participants’ health. But mainly, it’s also just good fun.
Just ask the 100 people who showed up to the first sing-along earlier this month. They also are now new AARP Create The Good volunteers, and the media response was more than anyone expected. The Fort Collins Coloradoan published a front-page story about the Singing for Seniors program.
“It was amazing,” said Create The Good lead Cathy Lasnik, of AARP Colorado, who arranged the co-sponsorship of the Larimer Chorale. The Volunteers of America and the Quick Foundation also joined AARP to support Singing for Seniors.
“The place was completely full and they were so excited to be included,” Lasnik said of the first session. “It brought a tear to my eye.”
A unique aspect of the Chorale's program is that it is led by a board certified music therapist, Megumi Azekawa, who selects exercises for the body and voice and musical numbers that are uniquely designed to maximize the benefits of community singing, as well as benefits to the participants’ internal organs and memory.
“The Larimer Chorale gives a thumbs-up to those who contributed to the successful launch of our Singing for Seniors program,” said Wendy White, executive director of The Larimer Chorale. “Thanks to AARP and the Quick Foundation for funding and to Volunteers of America for in-kind support.”