How has your relationship with group singing changed during the later years of your life?
In this later stage of my life, I am trying to figure out what God would have me do with the talents I still have. I had a period of about 25 years when I didn’t sing much at all. Church choirs became sort of old fashioned. Worship teams came into favor, and I just didn’t think I wanted to do that.
About a month ago, the Purdue Varsity Glee Club invited any alumni who wanted to come to attend the 125th celebration of the founding of the Glee Club on Purdue’s campus. About 350 alumni showed up, so the concert was performed by 420 current and past Glee Clubbers. Talk about male voices harmonizing... it was heavenly. I should mention that in May of 2011 I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Bummer. It was a bolt out of the blue. I wasn’t singing a lot at the time, so I didn’t know how it would impact my life in that area. I had heard that Neil Diamond and Linda Ronstadt had announced their decisions not to tour any longer due to their Parkinson’s diagnoses.
I heard about Choral Artisans from a friend at church, and I decided to try out. I think I’ve made it, as I talked to Rick and sang a little for him after one of our practices, and he said I had “perfect intonation”. I have the feeling that doesn’t mean I have a perfect voice, but I’ll settle for that under the circumstances. I’m finding that my voice is getting a little stronger all the time, but I am aware that Parkinson’s Disease can mess with one’s muscles anytime without warning. I plan to continue to sing as long as possible, as I am becoming more confident of myself as I sing. I am developing some friendships as well, and that is very important as I progress in my disease, as there is a propensity to withdraw socially in the more advanced stages.