Renaissance Singing Group Serenades Seniors

Fair Oaks, CA   |  By Muffy Francke, Renaissance Society
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Singing for Fun’s ukulele ensemble: the Uk-u-Ladies. Photo courtesy of the Renaissance Society.
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The Singing for Fun group singing, with Chorus Director Sara Ziegler in action. Photo courtesy of the Renaissance Society.

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - On Tuesday, May 7, the Renaissance Society’s Singing for Fun chorus serenaded the residents of Oakmont of Fair Oaks retirement community. The residents were treated to songs that many not only remembered, but enjoyed as a sing-along with the encouragement of Chorus Director Sara Zeigler.

The singers performed such tunes as “When You’re Smiling”, “It’s a Wonderful World”, “Up a Lazy River”, “Jeepers Creepers”, and “We’ll Meet Again”. The Uk-u-Ladies, the group’s ukulele ensemble, provided toe tapping beats to tunes like “Ain’t She Sweet” and “Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby”. There were train whistles for “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” rhythmic maracas for “Lemon Tree,” and chorus member Maryann Frantz entertained with a rousing tap dance during “On the Sunny Side of the Street.” Narrator Bette Carr introduced each song with interesting and fun facts.

Singing for Fun is a class offered by the Renaissance Society, an organization in partnership with the California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), that provides opportunities for lifelong learning and community engagement for older adults. Society members choose to study topics proposed by peers who lead the seminars. There is a veritable smorgasbord of subjects which evolve from semester to semester depending on members’ interests.

Classes are held on the CSUS campus on Fridays and Saturdays during both Fall and Spring semesters. The Society also offers seminars, “birds of a feather” gatherings, book clubs and other activities such as Singing for Fun on other days and other locations.

The Society also hosts a Summer series of presentations where non-members are welcome. The schedule can be found at https://www.csus.edu/org/rensoc/calendar.html.

The Singing for Fun group chooses a new slate of songs each semester, rehearses for approximately eight weeks, and then performs for up to five different senior communities. This Spring in addition to the Oakmont show, they also entertained residents at Summerset Senior Living facility in Rancho Cordova, Sunrise of Fair Oaks, Aegis of Carmichael, and the Hart Senior Center in Sacramento.

The chorus has been part of the Renaissance experience for almost thirty years. Each semester, there are about forty participants, many of whom have been singing with the chorus for years. The only requirement besides Renaissance Society membership is to enjoy singing and sharing the joy with others. Director Zeigler emphasized that the group has “fun” in its name so there are no tryouts and no requirement to read music.