Hyde Park seniors find niche in Encore Chorale

Staff Writer

Hyde Park’s Encore Chorale is approaching its third session starting Sept. 14, and its success speaks—or sings—volumes in the positive experiences of the chorale singers.

Cindy Pardo has been singing for years, taking voice lessons and is an active member in the choir at First Unitarian Church, 5650 S. Woodlawn Ave., so signing up for the chorale’s first two sessions was an easy decision.

“I thought the experience was terrific,” Pardo said. “When all was said and done, everything blended and everyone sounded good.”

Pardo participated in the two previous sessions but said she still learned new techniques through the chorale’s conductor, Jonathan Miller.

“It’s always a pleasure to work with someone who is really good at what they do,” Pardo said.

The chorale is a no-audition group, which means singers’ levels range from Pardo’s extensive background, to people. Such as Sharon Glick, who just want to try something new.

“I’m retired now and I never had a single thought of joining a singing group but I just figured why not and it has been really delightful,” Glick said.

She said she has learned how to read music and how to collaborate as a group to make the song just right.

“You have to listen to each other and work together to sing a song. It’s challenging, but it’s fun and stimulating,” she said.

Glick, who is a tenor singer, will be joining the fall session as well to expand her skills.

A better voice isn’t all the singers come away with, though. Countless studies have proven that there are health benefits to belonging to a choir, especially for older adults.

“It’s certainly good for your brain when you have to put together how your voice sounds and what the words are,” Pardo said. “The brain remembers music even if some of our other senses aren’t as sharp anymore.”

The social element of being in a chorale is also beneficial.

“I have met a lot of really nice people that I wouldn’t have necessarily met otherwise,” Glick said.

The Hyde Park Encore Chorale, which is co-sponsored by the Chicago Hyde Park Village, meets every Wednesday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Montgomery Place, 5550 S. Shore Dr. The fall session runs for 15 weeks and ends with a concert performance.

If interested in joining the chorale, visit www.encoreillinois.org.