“Music is Good for the Soul”… Shirley Morrow
Shirley and her husband Joe moved to Ardenwoods in 2014. What brought them here when they decided to leave Waynesville? “The friendly staff! And when we visited, we just felt we belonged,” says Shirley.
Not long after Shirley and Joe came to Ardenwoods, the Fletcher Community Chorus did a performance for the residents, and the activities director at the time was going to ask the Fletcher director to start a group at AW, but then she met with Shirley.
“It’s a policy at Ardenwoods that when new residents move in, staff make a personal visit to get to know them and find out how they might like to get involved in the community,“ explained Shirley. “When Janice (the former activities director) came to visit with me and learned about my music background, she told me of their plans to start choir. That’s when I volunteered to direct it.”
Shirley is full of life experience in this area. In high school, she played in the band, she graduated from college with a music education degree and went on to earn a Masters in Sacred Music from seminary. Part of her career also included teaching music at the Westminister Christian School in Alabama.
So yeah, the Ardenwoods Singers have the best in leadership!! Residents would agree. The group performs at least twice a year for the community… once at Christmas and again in the spring or summer (usually). The second performance always has a theme, and this year’s program is the music of the 1920’s. Of course, that was supposed to originally happen in June, but due to COVID 19, it has been moved to September 19th. “And that may change again,” says Shirley. “But that ok. We’ll go with the flow.”
What she does know for sure is that music at Ardenwoods has always lifted spirits and continues to do so. In normal conditions, every fourth Friday at 4pm is the Piano Bar in the grill area. A local gentleman comes to play piano and residents sing, mingle and enjoy a glass of wine. Over Memorial Day weekend, Kari, our Community Life Services Director, organized a safe, social distanced sing along on the patio. “Everyone just loved it. Kari is so great to work with, and she is very helpful with the choir,” explains Shirley.
And what about the choir during this time? They are still at it, practicing once a week but in small groups. One day the altos practice, the next day it’s the sopranos, and so on. It keeps the numbers at 10 and under, but everyone still gets to enjoy their music. So is the choir for professionals only? “Definitely not,” she says. “We are a group of 21 and of that, maybe 6 or 7 can read music. The rest just love to sing, so we work out the parts, and it turns out great! And..our audience is very forgiving. They just love what we do!”