Chime choir lifts holiday spirits at Pioneers Home
PRESCOTT - The Peridot Chime Choir brought smiles and tears to about 50 residents at the Arizona Pioneers Home this past Wednesday.
"It's very nice music," said Dee Eckhart, a Pioneers Home resident.
Twelve residents from the Peridot Retirement and Assisted Living formed the choir about six weeks ago. Some of the choir members had never played a musical instrument or performed in front of a live audience.
"I've never played an instrument, but with these you don't have to have music experience," choir member Jane Smith said. "I do it because it's fun, lots of fun."
Before each of the nine holiday-themed songs, Shelley Brinkerhoff, Peridot activity director, would give each choir member a different one-note tone chime. By playing individual notes in succession, the choir produced music.
"I look at the actual music sheet and organize the song in my head before starting," Brinkerhoff said.
The trick is, she explained, remembering which choir member has which note. Brinkerhoff would point to a choir member according to what note she needed for the song. "Because I have to change chimes for different songs, I have to remember the location of the notes," Brinkerhoff said.
Tone chimes are about 12 inches long.
A musician snaps his or her wrist causing a metal ball to strike a metal plate and create a single note.
"Tone chimes are a version of English hand bells," Brinkerhoff said. "They were developed for children and then later used by senior citizens."
Brinkerhoff is a music therapist and said that she likes the sound and simplicity of the tone chimes.
The choir's repertoire ranged from "Beautiful Dreamer" to "I'll be Home for Christmas," which brought tears to the eyes of some of the audience.
Lark Cyr, activities director for the Pioneers Home, said it is the first time that a chime choir performed at the Pioneers Home. "Since we're neighbors, we wanted to show you some Christmas spirit," Brinkerhoff said. She added that it is "Hi Neighbor Month" at Peridot.
"I've danced a lot in my life, but I've never played an instrument," Alice Shumway said. "This is a lot different from barn dances, which is what I used to do."
After performing "Silent Night" on the chimes, Brinkerhoff invited the audience to sing during a second rendition of "Silent Night."
"This went pretty well," Brinkerhoff said after the performance. "Hopefully we can perform at other places."