Music isn’t merely the food of love, it’s the stuff of life and most people have a treasure trove of tunes, songs and artists woven into the fabric of their lives. Music is an important part of life here at Lynwood too, and it brings a surprisingly wide range of benefits.
Introducing the Lynwood Village Choir
Between 15 and 20 Lynwood residents sing in the village choir which rehearses each week on a Monday afternoon. Some members have musical backgrounds, such as being in a church choir, but most attend simply because they enjoy singing. Mike Shore (an octogenarian), a founder member of the choir, is a lifelong music lover and was a frequent visitor to West End shows.
“People really enjoy singing in the choir and it’s very well-supported,” says Mike. “Age doesn’t matter at all, we all feel better for singing. Music is very emotional and you react to those emotions when you sing, it really gives you a lift. It’s amazing what a sound we make, and, judging from the excellent reaction we’ve had from our audiences, we’re not bad!”
For a recent concert to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, Mike wrote a new version of Food Glorious Food, dedicated to Bill, the village chef, and name-checking several of the staff (described in his new lyrics as ‘smiley people’) who work in Prescott’s, the village restaurant. Bill, reciprocated by doctoring ‘Grandma, We Love You’ in honour of Steph, a Lynwood Village staff member who helps run the choir, to thank her for her hard work!
Choir members choose the songs they would like to sing and members of the Lynwood Village events and activities team help run their weekly rehearsals. In between preparing for their regular concerts the team runs ‘singalong’ sessions, where people sing along together to music videos on YouTube, or Music Reminiscence sessions where small groups of residents share their favourite songs, and the memories they evoke, with each other.
So far the choir has performed three concerts, including carols at Christmas, an Easter concert and show tunes at a summer performance to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. They also performed a 45-minute concert for residents of the adjoining Lynwood Care Centre. Rehearsals will soon commence for the Christmas show which will no doubt include traditional favourites including carols, possibly with a descant or two for good measure.
Mike concluded, “The happiness we get from singing reflects the happiness of Lynwood Village. It really is a very happy place to live!”
Zara Ross, Chief Executive of Lynwood Village and Ben, agrees that music has an important role to play in village life, “One of the main reasons people move to a retirement village is to enjoy the company of others and feel a part of a community,” she adds. “Music has a wonderful way of creating opportunities for people to meet, socialise and even perform together so it’s an important part of community life here at Lynwood. Whether we’re listening to performances by our super choir, visiting musicians or evening entertainment, experiencing music together has a truly uplifting effect that we all benefit from.”