June 6, 2019
By: OIGC Soprano

OIGC has been going to middle-of-the-week, afternoon performances for the Mercy Retirement Center for about 8 years. That’s of note, because while the choir is comprised of professional-level singers, many of us have regular day jobs. Every time though, we get around 20 singers there! Just about a third of the choir.

I arrived early, and Mindy, the Life Enrichment Director of Mercy Retirement and Care Center, asked if I wanted to go and personally invite one of the residents that regularly attend the concert. When I reached them, they were just finishing up a ukulele song in the Ocean Room. How fitting, I thought! On the way back to the community room, we invited other residents and family members of the residents that we encountered.

As they began to roll in (figuratively and literally), I looked around at them, many in wheelchairs and limited mobility being assisted by staff members wearing lanyards. Some looked down, with blank stares. Some who had heard of us before, entered with anticipation. Mindy says repeatedly that this is her favorite concert.

The music started, and as we processed in, I heard the residents respond astonishment. We began our set right away with a gospel song, followed by several spirituals. Standing right in front of them, I saw smiles appear on those previously blank faces, residents and staff began to clap along to the music.

Before our last song, Mindy came up to say a few words. She said she had received some sad news just the other day, and hearing the music was a sort of redemption to that sadness. She said she saw hands clap that she hadn’t seen move in a long time. Then she asked the Reverend that was there to lead a blessing for us! Residents and staff raised their hands towards us, and it was such a humbling experience to simply stand and receive that blessing.

I left exhausted, having sung harder for that audience of 80 than I did even at Outsidelands in front of 20,000 people. I joined OIGC because I like to sing. I stay in OIGC because of experiences like these.

I hope when I’m old, people will come and sing for me!