Local choir sheds light on dementia

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Kailin Schumacher

More stories from Kailin Schumacher

The Stand in the Light Choir welcomes people of all abilities to share the gift of music with the community

The+Stand+in+the+Light+Choir+uses+their+color-coded+binders+to+practice+for+their+upcoming+concert.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Local choir sheds light on dementia

The Stand in the Light Choir uses their color-coded binders to practice for their upcoming concert.

The Stand in the Light Choir uses their color-coded binders to practice for their upcoming concert.

© 2019 Kailin Schumacher

The Stand in the Light Choir uses their color-coded binders to practice for their upcoming concert.

© 2019 Kailin Schumacher

© 2019 Kailin Schumacher

The Stand in the Light Choir uses their color-coded binders to practice for their upcoming concert.

Some people say music is magic. But for the members of the Stand in the Light Memory Choir and Iva Peck who is a singer, it is much more.

“One of the reasons I joined the choir it to show caregiver and people with dementia how to cope,” Peck said. 

Every Thursday morning the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd helps people living with dementia, caregivers and volunteers come together to make music and share the message that people living with dementia are people too. Cathy Reitz who directs the choir says that the community should recognize all that people with dementia can do. 

“They can still feel emotion, they can still read facials, they can still hear music, they can still participate. And maybe at a different level, or maybe in a different way. But so what.” Reitz said. “I think the biggest thing I can do for the community is take away that stigma. Just that whole oh you can’t do that now. You have dementia. You can’t do that. And that’s just not true”. 

According to the 2018  Eau Claire county community health assessment more than 2,000 people are affected by dementia in the Eau Claire area. The choir runs like any other, with regular practice, concerts and even three part harmonies. Choir director Cathy Reitz has been with the choir since 2016. She says that dementia is not that big of a roadblock for the choir.

“I’ve been a choir director for about a bazillion years. And the biggest difference with this choir is once we give them music and the rehearsal CD. We don’t change anything,” Reitz said.

Through the years, Rietz says organizers have learned what works best for the group. Color coded binders are given to each member to make it easy for them to read and sing along trial and error on font and text size is in the past, now, Peck said the choir focuses on creating bonds.

“We get together and eat lunch together and we share stories together. I see more of the choir than I do my own family,” Peck said.

Sue Terski and her mother-in-law Beatrice Terski have been with the choir since fall, making them one of the newest members.

“We do this together,” Sue Terski said. “We look forward to it every week. And yes, the sense of community couldn’t be better. And yes such a beautiful place to come”.

While some people think that the choirs light is the one you might see at the end of the tunnel, Reitz knows it is just the opposite.

“It’s not that, it’s this. We have light coming from us. Come stand in our light,” Reitz said.

The choir’s next concert is coming up at the end of April where you can hear favorites like the Beatles Here Comes the Sun and High Hopes by Frank Sinatra.