Meet The Golden Notes Chorus from Central Florida!
Earlier in her career, Ann Taylor was juggling her time as a music teacher at three elementary schools (vocal and instrumental music), a church organist/choir director, and the founder/director of a Sweet Adelines chapter. Now, she and her husband Jerry enjoy living in a retirement area in central Florida. But that certainly doesn’t mean she’s any less active!
Ann firmly believes, as do the members of the Golden Notes Chorus which she now conducts, that “music—either choral or instrumental—does help keep the brain cells active and the mind and body functioning far better than those who watch television all day. ” She describes her choir as “a great group of people who love to sing . . . and we do have fun—’cause that’s what it’s all about, especially in a senior retirement community!” And yes, in case you were wondering, her husband Jerry does sing in the group (and is the one who secretly called our editor to let us know that they were performing an almost all-Alfred concert this past December).
The Golden Notes Chorus consists of around 40 retired people who rehearse at their Community Center every Tuesday for about 90 minutes. They perform four to five times per year, with their primary focus being a Christmas and a Spring concert. Their backgrounds vary from folks who have sung all their lives and even some who have taught music to those who are singing again after many years away. About 12 of the members read music well (and these singers sometimes perform as a smaller ensemble) .
Ann has conducted the group for the past six years, and says, ” I enjoy working with the older folks as much as the younger crowd. Teaching the older generation that doesn’t read music presents a new way for me to use my skills. I have to be creative, encouraging, have a lot of humor, be willing to change spots that can easily be adapted, and, in general, love my singers, no matter what.”
A nominal singer’s fee of $5 covers some of the music costs. At concert events, donation baskets and a raffle help to raise additional funds. At their recent spring concert, they had an audience of almost 250 people, their biggest ever!
Ann states, “I wouldn’t trade what I do, or my chorus members, for anything. We have a good time, laugh a lot, sing well, and find strength in what we spend our time doing together. If you have an opportunity to direct, accompany, or sing in a senior citizen chorus, try it. I think you’ll be surprised at how much fun you can have. Use your skills as a musician—you’ll feel better, be heatlhier, and have a great outlook on life!”
Sounds soooo familiar! I did a similar thing in Florence, Oregon 13 years ago. Retired last year from that post-teaching retirement effort, but the Florence Community Chorus is still going strong under the leadership of Laura Merz. The yearly schedule is about the same, with principal concerts at holiday time and in Spring, with other appearances as well. Being a Community Chorus, we have to hire our hall, and so do charge minimally for tickets. We have an active Board of Directors and we feel good about serving the community. So far, we have been able to give college-entrance scholarships totaling more than $10,000 to local students studying Voice. Should say “they” instead of “we” because I no longer live in Florence, but they Florence Community Chorus still owns a part of my musical soul.
This is awesome!! I worked with Ann Taylor in the Oneida City Schools for several years, and I was a member of her Sound of Silver Sweet Adelines chorus in Oneida. The Golden Notes Chorus is indeed lucky to have Ann…she is a priceless gem who has brought music to hundreds and hundreds and probably thousands and thousands throughout her storied career. Hats off to Ann and her wonderful husband Jerry…keep making fabulous music for many years to come!!