The Chariho choir sings in the hospital, in a retirement home | Where is


WOOD RIVER JCT. – A Chariho High School singing group performed for nursing home residents and healthcare workers on Thursday afternoon, marking the first time the group has performed in public since the start of the pandemic.

Chariho Vocal Select, an auditioned mixed choir of 15 students from Chariho High School, sang to celebrate National Nursing Home Week at Apple Rehab at Watch Hill and National Nurses and Hospitals Week at Westerly Hospital. (Both performances were held outdoors and COVID-19 precautions were followed.)

Each day of the past week, Apple Rehab Watch Hill has celebrated various missed holidays due to the pandemic. To celebrate the Christmas-themed day on Thursday, nursing home staff invited Chariho Vocal Select to sing Christmas carols for the residents.

After rocking the residents of the nursing home with holiday songs, the group of singers then went to Westerly Hospital and sang a few songs for an audience of healthcare workers.

Lynn Dowding, Chariho’s choir director, said the two singing events were very meaningful to her and the singing group.

“It’s always special for students to sing [for an audience], and I’m grateful that they had the opportunity to do it again, ”said Dowding, noting that the students have not performed in public since December 2019.“ It was a great opportunity for the students to to be able to do what we ”I have wanted to do for so long.

She said her group was honored to sing for the people who have sacrificed so much because of the pandemic.

Beverly Schryver, director of therapeutic recreation at Apple Rehab Watch Hill, said the event was also special for her and the residents of the nursing home.

“It was a blessing,” Schryver said. “It was an absolute honor and blessing that they came to share their music with the residents of our suites who missed so much last year.”

This event was also memorable for the student singers.

“Today’s event is really special to me,” said Brynn McCarthy, a senior who sang with the vocal group for four years. “This is the first time in over a year that I have had the opportunity to sing for others with my friends, and I will always smile when I remember that moment.”

Alex Celico, a junior, said the event was long overdue. He mentioned that the event provided a sense of normalcy.

“I like to make people happy, and the choir is a great way to do that,” Celico said. “Seeing the look on the [nursing home] the residents’ faces were so good.

Until Thursday, the singing group had to give up all live musical performances because of the pandemic. Despite the restrictions linked to the pandemic, the group and the entire Chariho Choir produced pre-recorded virtual video concerts.

In the Chariho High School Choir Class, all students must wear masks at all times and stand six feet apart. Prior to this February, students were not allowed to sing indoors with their masks on; they were only allowed to hum. That changed in February when new guidelines suggested it was safe for students to sing indoors with masks on.

Dowding said she was proud of her students’ persistence.

“The pandemic has forced us to do things in new and unique ways,” said Dowding. “It was difficult and frustrating, but we also learned a ton of things doing it. “

She hopes more live musical performances return as more pandemic restrictions are lifted.

“While we’ve learned to do things in new and different ways, there’s nothing quite like the feeling you get from singing live,” said Dowding.


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