2014-12-24 / Front Page

Spreading the Christmas spirit

By JEFF LAGASSE | Staff Writer

Residents sing Christmas carols last week at Atria Senior Living in Kennebunk.

KENNEBUNK — It's hard not to feel the Christmas spirit when you're wearing antlers.

Between those festive accouterments, the jingling bells, and a lobby festooned with iconic holiday decorations, a choir of residents at Atria Senior Living in Kennebunk felt that spirit swell as they regaled friends, family, and staff with a number of standards tailored for a merry Yuletide concert.

Led by Engage Life Director Shirley Haywood ”“ decked out as a jolly Mrs. Claus ”“ the choir sang, clapped, and jangled their way through songs such as “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and the ever-popular “White Christmas.”

Held a week before Christmas, the concert was the first holiday-themed performance for Atria's choir group, which meets once a week to happily revisit some classic tunes.

Therese Paquette sings Christmas carols last week at Atria Senior Living in Kennebunk.

Resident Thayus Kruger said she was approached to join the choir, and is surely glad she did.

“It's a very happy group,” said Kruger. “It's more of a pleasure than anything else.”

Though the choir has performed in a handful of locations, including a local elementary school, last Thursday's gathering was geared more toward those who call Atria home ”“ as well as friends and family, the clapping hands of whom gamely joined the rhythm during the more up-tempo numbers.

Haywood started the choir for a simple reason: Singing is fun.

“People like to sing,” said Haywood. “You just start from point A, and we decided to start a choir group.”

At first, she said, some residents were timid. But after a few meetings, confidence built, and the volume swelled.

There was no shyness on Thursday.

“They really enjoyed themselves,” said Haywood.

Therese Paquette certainly did. For her, singing Christmas standards provides a link to her treasured memories, while creating new ones.

“Hearing this Christmas music ”“ it makes you reminisce about when you had a house full of kids,” said Paquette. “It makes a difference.”

— Staff Writer Jeff Lagasse can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 319 or jlagasse@journaltribune.com.

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