by Tracey Johnstone
THE ladies and gentlemen of the Coffs City Choir are back on song for the new year and looking for new members to join their active group of happy and healthier songsters.
There has been little time for chatting and relaxing since the choir restarted in early February. They have ahead of them regular bookings at the Woolgoolga and St Joseph's nursing homes along with annual bookings at other venues. Choir president Cathy Ellem said the group of about 22 members are already brushing up on the old favourites and starting to work on some new songs for their repertoire.
"We sing anything from the Beatles to Rogers and Hammerstein, some classics and some sacred songs," Cathy, 73, said. "And we are trying to do some ABBA this year."
The community choir meets once a week for about two hours and is led through the practice session by their enthusiastic conductor Belinda Cochrane. The four-part choir for men and women have a lot of fun. "People who love singing often come along," Cathy said. "They can't read music, but still really enjoy it. They do get to know what they are singing.
"I find the choir is my lifeline. Some people have health issues, but they come along and forget about everything while they are there.
"It's really important for the fellowship and friendship, as well as singing."
Cathy points out some of the great benefits of singing are helping to removing anxiety and depression, gaining a feeling of self-worth and self-achievement, meeting new people, going out places together, improving your singing skills and breathing.
"When we bring joy to the people we visit in nursing homes and other places, it's so uplifting to us," Cathy added.
The Coffs City Choir is one of 30 NSW choirs that received funding from the NSW Government under the Sing Your Age fund which is targeted at getting more seniors to discover the joy of singing.
To find out more information on the choir, call Cathy Ellem or Cheryl Cooper on 0428 631219.