Spotswood chorus seeks new members

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SPOTSWOOD – After a summer hiatus, the Spotswood Office on Aging and Senior Center’s “Young At Heart” chorus is seeking new members as fall draws near.

No experience is necessary, as the chorus is open to anyone who likes to sing, according to Chorus Director Barbara Cottrell.

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Comprised of about 12 members, the chorus travels and performs at various area assisted living facilities that include the Reformed Church Home in Old Bridge, The Chelsea at East Brunswick, Summer Hill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Old Bridge, The Chelsea at Forsgate, the Sunrise of East Brunswick, and the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home in Edison.

“I just call around and I see when our dates can match, when they are free, when [the chorus] is free and then we go there. We don’t specifically target one place. We just go wherever they would like to hear us,” Cottrell said.

The chorus practices from 1-2 p.m. every Thursday at the Spotswood Office On Aging and Senior Center, located at 1 Arlington Ave., Suite 401.

The chorus performs two to three times during the spring and winter seasons, often using instruments such as bells, shakers and flags to help the seniors they visit become more involved in singing and engaging with the chorus, according to Cottrell.

“I love to sing. I love to sing with others. The Young At Heart singers are a lot of fun. I think that they enjoy the activity and they bring a lot of fun with them. We go and perform at assisted livings in the area and sometimes [at the Senior Center] and that makes us feel good that we are sharing our music with other folks that like to hear music,” Cottrell said.

Cottrell has been the director of the chorus since 2011. She was a music teacher for more than 40 years and directed children’s choirs.

Cottrell said she and former director Janine Balazs knew each other when Balazs was the PTA president while Cottrell was teaching music.

“She just asked if I could start up a chorus … [but when she first] asked a couple of years before, I was still teaching so the schedule would not have worked. So, I had just retired and I came back and [I] said ‘Do you still want a chorus?’ and Balazs said ‘Yes,'” Cottrell said.

“It’s a fun activity for me. I’m a senior also so I fit right in. We just have a good time and we enjoy singing,” she said. “I also like that I push them a little. … I try to throw in a couple of challenging pieces, because I think that’s good for all of us to grow, so we just enjoy being together and singing together.”

For more information on the Young At Heart chorus, visit www.spotswoodboro.com/officeonagingpage01.html or call 732-251-3432.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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