In March, CMC faculty Beth Wilmurt (Children’s Chorus, Older Adult Choirs, Uke’n Sing) invited 100 older adult singers in her Older Adult Chorus groups to sing with her on Zoom. As Beth transitioned them from a live to a virtual choir, a series of email exchanges were collected like small poems in Wilmurt’s inbox. She transformed these email exchanges into mini-songs, weaving a musical narrative from the messages. Beth writes about the process:
I used this songwriting prompt to keep me invested in the learning of new technology, just as my students’ social needs motivated them to step out of their comfort zones. Little email exchanges started to seem sweetly profound even in their pedestrian nature, and the result was that I got really inspired by each of my students and their stories.
Sign up to receive a song a day for the month of October, with a new song sent to your email inbox daily. Each original song is composed and recorded by Beth Wilmurt, and a special appearance by CMC Aquatic Park, OMI Senior Center, and Richmond District Older Adult Choir chorus members is included in one of the songs. The songs are sure to be a joyful highlight of each day, and be a heartwarming testament to the power of connection in these times.
Daily songs start going our on October 1. You can sign up at any point during the month. Published songs will be available to watch on the Hello Chorus YouTube Channel, if you want to go back and hear the previous songs.
Hello Chorus is a project of For You’s ongoing Artists & Elders Projects, a project that brings artists and elders together to connect artists and elders while we’re all sheltering in place, create and exchange art in the spirit of gift-giving, and inspire new forms of distant socializing.
Beth Wilmurt has been teaching with CMC for the past 20 years. She started there as the Children’s Choir Director and now is in full swing with the Older Adult choirs, private lessons and other classes. Alongside the music, Beth has also had both feet in the theater for even longer – performing, directing, devising and teaching. She has appeared in over seventy plays, musicals, dance pieces, and cabarets with a variety of companies throughout the Bay Area and as far reaching as New York, Washington DC and Berlin. Much of her recent work has been with Shotgun Players, of which she has been a company member since 2010, Aurora Theater and Z Space. bethwilmurt.com
San Francisco’s Community Music Center developed their Older Adult Choir Program to provide the many personal, social, artistic, and quality of life benefits that musical activity can bring to older adults. The Program partners with the Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) and 12 senior centers throughout San Francisco. The program has grown as choirs have cycled out of the Community of Voices research study led by UCSF in partnership with CMC and DAAS. These are tuition-free choirs are designed specifically for older adults (ages 55 and above). To find out more about the program and all the offerings of Community Music Center visit sfcmc.org.