Stories from the Chorus

Donna and Judy

Dave Nimmer recently wrote a feature article in Minnesota Good Age. His profile of Giving Voice offers a beautiful story about Donna Snetting and Judy McCool.

Nimmer writes:

“Three of my good friends — old friends — have had or have Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia. One has died, two are still alive and all have been an important part of my life — and remain so. It’s been an honor to be with them.

What I’ve learned is that the disease, though powerful, isn’t able to steal who they are: We can still roll soul-to-soul and tell the stories that have enriched and informed our lives”…

… “When she sings in the chorus, Donna Snetting is much more than a statistic. She and her sister/caregiver, Judy McCool, both of Prior Lake, find the experience rewarding and affirming. ‘I love that the people we are surrounded by are really serious about the music,’ Snetting said.”

Read Nimmer’s full article.

"I feel so much more grounded now. So this has made a huge, huge impact on my well-being." - Singer, Care Partner
"When we sing we are one voice, and it does not matter where anyone is in the disease. I have observed the learning from our members...their spirits just shine as a result of being able to sing and participate." - Singer, Care Partner
"The chorus has helped me live in the moment and to find joy in every day." - Singer, Care Partner
"It’s been great to realize that there are other people in our situation who are active and who are really positive and optimistic and determined to live their lives." - Singer, Care Partner
"She has a drop-dead gorgeous voice. She use to sing at weddings and funerals. Giving Voice has in a very big way, given her voice back." - Singer, Care Partner

Jean and John

It only took a second for John to answer the question about what he likes best about Giving Voice Chorus: “Wonderful director. Just wonderful.” While it was difficult for him to say much more, his wife, Jean, explained, as he nodded his head in agreement: “Jeanie has so much energy. She reaches us in amazing ways.”

Jean says it was a joy to be together—to sing together. “It was 100% beneficial.”

While John’s memory was fading, he always knew that Wednesday was chorus day. “His memory was always clear about the chorus. And he could remember lyrics.”

Growing up, Jean says she was the one in her family who couldn’t sing. Now, under the guidance of Giving Voice, she has developed her talents. “My brother recently said, “Jean, you can really sing!’ What a thrill that was.”

Jean and John found a new community at Giving Voice, a place they could be themselves and feel accepted and welcomed. “This was the best part of our week,” she says. “Absolutely.”

John passed away in September 2016. His voice is deeply missed.

“There’s really no better feeling that I get throughout the week than being at the chorus. It’s uplifting. It’s joyful. It’s a lot of fun. I love to laugh.” - Singer with Alzheimer’s
“Enjoy good things as they come along." - Singer with Alzheimer’s
“It’s a learning experience... Now I understand that I have to live with this disease." - Singer with Alzheimer’s
“They won’t throw me out for making a mistake.” - Singer with Alzheimer’s
“They won’t throw me out for making a mistake.” - Singer with Alzheimer’s
“I’m a helper, so I like that part too." - Singer with Alzheimer’s