Women’s choir harmonizes the Center

Carol Abel, founder of the COA’s women’s chorus, instructs the group each week during their Wednesday rehearsals at the Center.

By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Wednesday mornings at the Westwood Council on Aging are relatively quiet. Usually, an exercise class will meet and SHINE counselors make themselves available to those with appointments.

But there’s one group that truly animates the Center through the power of music.

Though they don’t yet have a name, the women’s chorus group at the Westwood Council on Aging has certainly made its voice heard.

The group, comprised of 19 singers, meet weekly from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. to rehearse under the instruction of Carol Abel. As Carol played on the Center’s upright piano last week, she led the group in song, beginning with “God Bless America.”

“It’s a nice group,” said Carol. “They’re all friendly with one another and love one another. It’s a good feeling.”

As they continued with “The Old Songs” and “In the Good Old Summer Time,” several seniors snuck into the room to sit and flip through magazines as they listened to the rehearsal, offering quiet applause at the end of each song.

Bringing her experience as a music teacher and director to the group, Carol instructed the singers to practice enunciating specific lyrics and to be attentive to her hand motions, which signal when to start and stop singing.

They practiced “Let’s Harmonize,” which Carol hopes to perform a cappella style once the women become more comfortable with the song, and followed up the song with “Harmonize the World.”

Last September, Carol established the group with only eight participants. Now, the group regularly features fifteen women, although they have had as many as 19 singers. Although they have only been together for a few months, they hope to perform for Westwood’s middle school students and local retirement communities in the spring.

“[The participants] love it,” said Carol as the group finished their rehearsal with “Go with a Song in Your Heart.”

“One gal just came up to me and said, ‘In our title, when we do name ourselves, we should say ‘joy’ or something about joy, because there’s so much joy in this group.’ They really love it, and singing is so good for us.”

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