Once every couple of months, our church choir visits a large senior-citizen facility and hosts a sing-along. Sometimes I will play a solo or the choir will sing the most recent Sunday special. Occasionally one of the choir members will play the violin. For many residents, it’s a highlight of their week, and the chapel is usually full of seniors ranging from those still capable of independent living, those in assisted living, and those who come from the nursing wings. We can usually count on a number of the staff as well.
We sing together for half an hour or so. My dad can generally be counted on to give a short devotion and a prayer. Then we socialize with the residents for a while before we leave or they go back to their rooms. We are there often enough that we recognize familiar faces and know several of the residents by name.
We use a standard playlist of old hymns which most church-going people can sing from memory. We hand out songbooks, but most people either can’t read them or don’t need to. The more familiar the hymn, the more verses we sing. It’s always amazing to hear how well people in their 80’s and 90’s can sing, and they really enjoy the peppier songs like “I’ll Fly Away.”
My dad was feeling great last night, so I sat down at the chapel piano and played one of the songs just to alert people that we were about to start. Suddenly, there was a voice singing along! It was my dad, singing a solo. He’s always had a fine voice, but he doesn’t sing much anymore, and I hadn’t heard him in quite a while. It was good.
As the choir sang “Amazing Grace” with the residents, it sounded so good I just stopped playing to listen. I was moved, and I’ll bet God stopped a second to take a listen, too.