Powerful yet melodic voices joining in four-part harmony are heard down the hall from Wesley Manor's Social Center. The thought occurs that if this is what this group sounds like during a practice, how magnificent the actual performance must be.
The year 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the Singing Saints, a chorus of 25 to 30 Wesley Manor residents. The group originated in 1984 under the leadership of then activity director, Betty Moloney. She - who has since become a resident herself - had heard a senior cantata in a local church entitled Saints Alive and wanted the Manor residents to recreate that event at Wesley Manor.
Everyone had such a great time the Manor decided to make that activity of chorus, performance and song a regular event. Taking the groups name from the original cantata, the Singing Saints were born. They practice weekly and perform regularly.
The group delights in traveling during the warmer months of June, July and August to perform in other venues throughout central Indiana. They can be seen in surrounding areas for the enjoyment of senior centers, retirement communities and various churches.
Of course, local productions are part of their schedule and the public is invited to a Spring and a Christmas concert each year.
Another annual performance is the intergenerational gathering of the eighth-grade choir of Klondike Middle School from Tippecanoe County for a joint performance with the Singing Saints. Each group separately practices their pieces and on the day of the performance (held at Wesley Manor) they join together for a morning practice.
I'm home at Wesley Manor
Sing to the tune of "Back Home Again in Indiana"
lyrics by Wesley Manor resident, Mary Jane Bass
It's home to me, in Wesley Manor
The well-kept grounds lend lots of beauty
When I think about the stage of life I'm living,
As part of the performance's preparations, a student is paired with a resident for a brief interview session; a chance to get to know each other individually. Then, during the actual performance, there is an opportunity for both students and residents to share what they have learned about their newly made friends.
The students are impressed to learn of residents' former vocations and current avocations. They learn of such a wide array of experiences. And because they will have seen the "fun stuff" such as the bowling alley and swimming pool, the students are also heard to exclaim "cool," "neat" or "I want my grandma to live here." Wesley Manor's residents agree with those sentiments.
The Singing Saints include many styles of music within their repertoire; - pop, classical, spiritual, and even a Johnny Cash medley. Barbara Beck, director for the group since 2000, believes the Singing Saints are "too good to be kept secret."
To invite them for a performance in your area, contact Barbara at 765-659-3895 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. One performance and you'll be singing their praises.