By Lois Bell, Sheridan Senior Center
SHERIDAN —“Music brings you to places that bring you joy.” This is the experience of Jane Perkins who directs the SheridanAires singing group at the Sheridan Senior Center. Perkins has been loving the job for 12 years.
The SheridanAires shine this time of year not only for others but also for their members. The choristers presented their annual Christmas singing program at the Senior Center earlier this month and participated in the Sheridan College’s inauguration of the Whitney Arts building.
“Singing with the SheridanAires warms my heart,” said SheridanAires member Sharon Rasmussen. Rasmussen, a soprano, has been singing with the group for eight years.
Rasmussen tapped into the magic of music early in life. As an elementary school teacher at Highland Elementary School, she brought her second-, third- and fourth-grade students to sing for veterans at the Senior Center. They brought the magic for her students and to the audience.
“The Senior Center was always one of our main places (to sing),” said Rasmussen of her choral students.
When she retired, Rasmussen joined the SheridanAires. She had an extra bonus by joining: her sister, Dixie Babilla, was already a member of the SheridanAires when Rasmussen joined the group.
New to the group, Ginger Morris joined the SheridanAires earlier this year. She sang for the first time with them in their Spring Follies earlier this year, another time of year that is a highlight for the SheridanAires and the loyal fans who appreciate them.
“I hadn’t sung for over 20 years,” said Morris. “What’s unexpected for me, is I laugh at every rehearsal. I have fun and the group definitely lifts my spirits. I always feel better after (the rehearsals).”
The group’s 2016 winter concert venue embraced the theme, “The Magic of Christmas” touching on the very point that these three ladies observed: music this time of year can be especially magical. Perkins got it right. Music can bring not only audiences to places of joy but also for musicians.
“The SheridanAires’ musical abilities are as diverse as our age ranges,” said Perkins of the members whose ages range from 58 to 93 years of age. Each member brings their unique vocal talents, some with training and some who wish just to sing. The goal of the group is to have fun.
Layered among the fun, singing and socializing is a powerful tonic. One member especially connects with the music through the SheridanAires, said Perkins. Perkins observes that the participation and the music helps this member stay rooted as they battle health issues.
“When you’re involved in a music group, you are part of a musical family,” said Perkins. “The musical bond is a magical bond. It’s a different feel.”
This year, the SheridanAires were invited to be part of the magic of the musical inauguration of the Whitney Arts building at Sheridan College, a new experience for them.
“It was wonderful,” said Rasmussen. Rasmussen said the audience gave the SheridanAires a rousing applause.
It was not only the audience who responded warmly to the SheridanAires. Rasmussen said that after they sang and went into the warm-up room, the Buffalo High School singing group gave them an enthusiastic applause there.
“It felt great that they appreciated us,” said Morris.
Perkins said that the SheridanAires were glowing after the appreciative reception at the inauguration. The SheridanAires not only shared but received the magic of music this season.
“It connected us to the spirit of Christmas as well as the message of Christmas,” said Rasmussen.