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Cummings Centre rock’n’soul choir is a singalong paradise

Being semi-retired, and always on the lookout for fun things to do, I recently discovered the Rock ‘N Soul Choir at the Cummings Centre on Westbury Ave.

It sounded like fun – nine sessions from Feb. 3 to April 13 on Wednesdays from 7 to 9pm at a reasonable $80.

In contrast with other choirs I’ve participated in, I was surprised to see so many people – I guesstimated around 50. There were all these smiling faces, about two-thirds female, and everyone looked healthy, active, and enthusiastic.

This was a different vision of “seniors” than I have had from previous excursions into 60-plus communities. I met a former elementary-school classmate and a friend who volunteers as a guide at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre. I said hello to another acquaintance I’d met at Yiddish classes a few years ago at the Montreal Workers Circle.

There was another younger person, probably in his late sixties, who shares my surname. He used to run a second-hand bookstore here, and his late father was born on the same day as me, only a generation before. I talked to a man who was brought up on Casgrain Ave., east of St. Laurent, and went to my alma mater, Outremont High.

Sharing an activity with people from a similar background and cohort, many of whom were strangers, was part of the experience.

Nobody was dressed up. Many of the women were happy with their grey hair and all seemed happy to sing oldies but still goodies, a slice of our past. Being part of this group, recognizing that you are not alone, that your generation is alive and well and kicking, and celebrating our time in song is what it’s all about.

The songs being practiced for forthcoming concerts include To Love Somebody (The Bee Gees), Don’t Go Breaking my Heart (Elton John), The Candy Man (Sammy Davis Jr.), Stand by Me, Wake Up Little Suzy, Tonight You Belong To Me, and a Rolling Stones medley.

The singalong menu includes Sir Van Morrison’s Moondance, Mama Said (The Shirelles), Mr. Bojangles, and Bessie Smith’s Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.

Pianist Adam Goulet directs. He is a skilled musician with a sense of humour and an easy-going attitude. This is a fun way to enjoy Montreal life. There are lots of activities like this one worth checking out.

The Cummings Centre is at 5700 Westbury. cummingscentre.org, 514-342-1234 # 7216.

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