How sweet the sound of the Amazing Grace Chorus®, even from home. The chorus is a program of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute (WAI) Regional Milwaukee Office, and its members are people living with dementia and their caregivers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these vulnerable individuals faced increased isolation and even more limited access to resources and support.
The chorus persevered by transferring to all virtual programs and increasing personal check-ins with members. Now, they are expanding virtual events and inviting new members to join in as virtual participants of the chorus.
WAI Senior Outreach Specialist and Chorus Director Stephanie Houston and the chorus leadership team stayed personally connected with chorus members, delivering supplies to members, talking with them frequently, and providing technical support to help access meetings from their home computers or phones.
At a virtual rehearsal this fall, Houston did something many virtual event hosts won’t do – she unmuted everyone’s microphone. She listened in to all the voices, singing together. The sound and the emotions the chorus carries is sometimes indescribable, she said.
“I think there was no one who left that event without feeling encouraged and inspired,” she said.
The chorus spring series, Amazing Grace Chorus Hope Springs, is February 27 – June 25, 2021. Interested community members are welcome to sign up here to find out how to join as a virtual chorus participant.
More than music
In addition to performing in rehearsals and occasional concerts, the chorus is an opportunity to connect people living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia and caregivers with resources, including programs such as the WAI Coffee and a Chat virtual events, respite programs, helplines, caregiver support, memory care services, and more.
“We love to come together and we love singing, but what we are also doing is having an opportunity to check-in, to say hello,” Houston said. “We’re coming together to get some respite and support from one another.”