Creating a Community through Song

Today, I went to visit the assisted care facility for people who need support as they are aging. This is where a man, I’ll call Sid, goes to sing once per month. He has been doing this for over a year since we found this opportunity for him through the Community Participation Initiative. I had heard him sing in his home and at another community event, but not at this venue. It was so inspiring to see what a real difference he makes in the lives of these people who have become more and more dependent on others to care for their needs. Sid was there for their lunchtime. There were about 12 people. In honor of the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death 35 years ago, his play list was songs by “The King.” He had chosen a couple of Elvis’ upbeat songs, but I was really impressed by his selection of some of the more tender songs. As he sang “Love Me Tender” and “Daddy Please Don’t Cry,” one lady sang along. But the most moving part of the performance was when he sang “How Great Thou Art.” When he got to the chorus, he invited everyone to join in. I had goose bumps as nearly all of the audience joined in booming,

“Then sings my soul My Savior, God, to Thee How great thou art How great thou art Then sings my soul My Savior, God, to Thee How great Thou art How great Thou art"

Prior to them singing together, the people were not particularly interacting with one another as they ate lunch. When they all joined into the hymn, for a brief moment they were a community that Sid created. It was beautiful and it really made a difference in these people’s lives that mattered.