The repertoire was a trip down memory lane with classic favorites.
The once popular songs were performed by the Living Oaks Choir at its recent spring concert.
In its first set, the choir performed seven songs including “Daisy, Daisy,” “Home on the Range” and “Amazing Grace.”
After an intermission, they continued with six songs of a more popular variety, such as “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” “You Are My Sunshine” and “How Much is That Doggie in the Window.”
During the intermission, kitchen employee Pat Rosemann provided a reading titled “For All Those Born Before 1945: We are Survivors.”
“We were born before television, before penicillin, frozen foods, credit cards, air conditioners … and before man walked on the moon,” she read. “For one nickel you could ride a streetcar, make a phone call … or buy enough stamps to mail one letter and two postcards.”
Choir members at the spring concert included Liz Sharkey, Marlys Powers, Nola Peterson, Sharon Tuttle, Diana Waller, Geraldine Reinke, Frank Roovers and Phyllis Olson.
The Living Oaks Choir was formed two years ago at the request of Robert Douglass.
“They said I could be the conductor if I promised not to sing,” he said.
“It was his idea,” said Diane Pedersen, who directs the choir on her guitar.
The choir began with eight participants and has continued to grow.
“We enjoy it very much,” Liz Sharkey said. “We like practicing and getting together.”
Pedersen, who is the chef at Living Oaks, says the choir is more than just a way to pass the time.
“As a music therapist, I could see the advantages,” she said. “Having a choir gives these people a purpose and it’s a fun cooperation activity.”
Pedersen said music and singing are very therapeutic.
She noted one member has a hard time breathing, and singing helps to strengthen the lungs.
Singing also helps the memory.
“Music is your long-term memory, so singing can spark memories,” Pedersen said.
“The choir is good therapy for a lot of the members,” Douglass said. “It helps me.”
“We have a good time and it gives us something to do,” he said. “It’s important to have activities when you retire.”
At 96, Douglass is the oldest member of the choir and the oldest resident at Iola’s Living Oaks, an assisted living facility.
Originally from Iowa and a longtime resident of Algoma, he has been at Living Oaks for three years.
Douglass is a 1941 graduate of Stout State College, which was later renamed University of Wisconsin-Stout.
An industrial arts teacher for 19 years, he moved to Iola because he liked the facility and he had relatives in the area.
At Living Oaks, Douglass directs the choir, manages football pools and leads an exercise group.
“I enjoy doing these different activities,” he said.