When people join in song, their hearts and voices verify they love music. In Licking County, those who love to sing join together in a group called Vintage Voices. This mixed chorus of approximately 70 members has a special characteristic that makes them unique.
To participate you have to have a ‘vintage voice’ – one that is at least 50 years old. They have a great sense of humor and all will tell you they are “older than dirt”. Voices from all over central Ohio join in song.
The group began twenty years ago in 1999 under the direction of Teddy Westlake, who loved music. Those in the group liked her methods as she let them use music so they didn’t have to memorize every song. Her plan was to sing a wide variety of types of music.
At a recent performance at the retirement community of Kendal at Granville, the room was filled with an eager audience to listen to their rousing performance. Each season they do a concert at Kendal as well as SharonBrooke, and Chapel Grove. Teddy now lives at this retirement community, so she was an additional reason for their performance.
When directing, Teddy said she always danced a little jig to keep time with the music. Today she is in her 90s and still danced in the audience when the group was singing. Her feet were moving as well as her body. The evening with old friends brought a smile to her face.
Another one of their members, Rosemary Hoyt, had a stroke two weeks ago and is staying at Kendal now also. It warmed my heart to see how caring they were to this member. One of the ladies took off her scarf and put it around Rosemary’s neck. Then they brought her upfront in her wheelchair at the edge of the group and let her be part of the choir for the evening. How special!
Chuck Beck serves as their new director and knows how to make everyone feel welcome. It’s a special group where you can see the caring they have for each other. After twenty years together, they have become a second family.
Marcia Brannon, the pianist, has been with them from the beginning. Teddy said that Marcia plays so well that she could have been a concert pianist. Sometimes they add percussion, violinists, flutists, or whatever background music is needed.
The evening’s program contained songs about our freedom – something we cherish. Rivers have always had a great impact on spiritual growth so the song “River of Freedom” was the perfect way to begin the evening.
River songs continued with “Beautiful Ohio”, which fifty years ago became our state song. “Jordan River” symbolized life in this world moving on to a better place.
Patriotic songs recognized all branches of the service that were present by having members stand. The show concluded with “God Bless America”, a favorite of many.
This evening was a celebration of their 20th Anniversary of entertaining and inspiring audiences all over Licking County. May they continue to bless others with their messages in song.
Vintage Voices is always looking for new members who love to sing in Central Ohio. No auditions are required, just a love of music and a willingness to practice weekly to attain the best vocal performance possible. For more information, contact Chuck Beck (firstname.lastname@example.org).